Alternatives to detention


Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 10/06/22


Swedish Refugee Law Center Visit Website

Supervision is an alternative measure that may be used instead of detention.[1] Authorities are obliged to consider if supervision can be used as an alternative to detention, before deciding on detention. Even though this should always be done by the decision body, there have been concerns raised as to the lack of extensive and qualitative argumentation as to why inter alia supervision is not used instead of detention.[2]

Supervision entails regular reporting to the police or to the Migration Agency, depending on which authority is responsible or the decision. It may also entail surrendering passports or other identity documents.[3] Similarly to detention, supervision in the asylum context is rarely used during ongoing asylum procedures and when it is used it is mainly applied in relation to applicants in Dublin procedures or applicants who are undergoing a new procedure following a subsequent application.  In 2021, a total of 113 supervision decisions were taken by the Migration Agency, a decrease from 300 decisions in 2020.[4]

On 5 February 2020, the Migration Court of Appeal expressed that, in order for supervision to be used as an alternative to detention, there must be a ground for detention in accordance with the Aliens Act – and that that ground must be in compliance with the Returns Directive.[5]

Supervision is the only alternative to detention which is used, both for adults and children.




[1] Ch. 10, Section 6 Aliens Act.

[2] Swedish Red Cross, Förvar under lupp. See also comparative study on use of alternatives to detention, where Sweden was one of the studied countries: Odysseus Network, Alternatives to immigration and asylum detention in the EU. Time for implementation, 2015, available at:

[3] Ch. 10, Section 8 Aliens Act.

[4] Information provided by the Migration Agency’s statistics unit.

[5] Migration Court of Appeal, MIG 2020:2, 5 February 2020.

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