Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 30/04/24


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The Swedish Migration Agency is the responsible authority for running detention centres. During 2022 a new detention centre in Mölndal replaced the detention centre in Kållered. At the end of 2023 there were six detention centres (Gävle, Märsta, Flen, Mölndal, Ljungbyhed, Åstorp) with an overall capacity of 567.[1]

The detention centres have to take responsibility for all those aliens who have received an expulsion or deportation order. Thus, detention centres can also hold third-country nationals who have never sought asylum but have received an expulsion order on other grounds such as minor crimes or for overstaying. However, persons who have an expulsion order because they committed a serious crime, with or without previously seeking asylum, are detained either by the prison authority or the police. Furthermore, detainees who pose a real threat to others, with or without previously seeking asylum, can also be removed to police custody.[2] However, a child under 18 may never be placed in a prison or in a police holding centre. There are no special detention centres for children.

The placement of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in police custody units and prisons in accordance with previously mentioned situations, has for a long time been criticised by NGOs, JO and the Council of Europe Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT).[3] The issue persisted, however, and in 2020 JO expressed further criticism including regarding the possibility for detainees to be held together and having contacts with the outside world. The JO considered that the Government needs to assess how detainees’ rights can be ensured and questions whether detainees who are not expelled for criminal offences should be placed in prison facilities at all.[4]

The Council of Europe Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT) published a new report after their visit to Sweden in January 2021, where they expressed continued concerns regarding lack of access to health care and to legal aid for people being detained, and that detainees were placed in prison facilities.[5]

The CPT published the response of the Swedish authorities to the report on the 2021 visit, where the Swedish authorities express that apart from the regular presence of medical staff, staff employed at the detention centres are trained in first aid and the use of early warning of suicidal tendencies as well as techniques to cope with such situations. All detention staff working close to detainees also undergo training in the use of defibrillators. The Swedish authorities expressed that the Migration Agency may under certain circumstances decide that a detainee held in detention shall be placed in prison. Such a special placement can be decided to uphold order and security in the detention premises, as the Migration Agency does not have the capacity to handle persons who cause serious security disturbances and poses a threat to themselves or others.[6]




[1] Swedish Migration Agency, ‘Annual Report 2023’, Dnr: 1.3.2-2024-2238, 22 February 2024, available in Swedish at:, p.78.

[2] Ch. 11, Section 7 Aliens Act.

[3] See Swedish Refugee Law Center, Hur ser regelverket ut när det gäller förvar i Sverige och finns det problem med hur det tillämpas?, Rapport om Förvar av juriststudenterna Cecilia Alpin och Arvid Skagerlind vid Uppsala Universitet inom ramen för en människorättsklinik, 22 April 2020, available in Swedish at:, Swedish Red Cross, Förvar under lupp (Detention centres under the magnifying glass), May 2012, available at: See also, CPT, Report sent to the Swedish Government on the visit to Sweden from 9 to 18 June 2009, 11 December 2009, available at:

[4] JO, Säkerhetsplacerade förvarstagna berövas sina rättigheter, 2020, available in Swedish at:

[5] CPT, Report to the Swedish Government on the visit to Sweden carried out from 18 to 29 January 2021, 9 September 2021, available at:

[6] CPT, ‘Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes the response of the Swedish authorities to the report on the 2021 visit’, 25 February 2022, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – I Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation