The report was previously updated in May 2021.
- Afghanistan: As a result of the developments in Afghanistan, the Swedish Migration Agency decided on 16 July 2021 to halt all deportations to Afghanistan and on 23 July 2021 to suspend decision-making in general in asylum cases concerning Afghans. On 30 September 2021, new guidance was adopted by the Migration Agency essentially allowing for re-examination of previously rejected Afghan cases with enforceable expulsion orders. 1,500 Afghans were resettled to Sweden, many of whom were evacuated from Afghanistan in a special evacuation operation performed by the Migration Agency and other Swedish Agencies.
- Safe countries of origin: In May 2021, Sweden implemented the APD´s provision regarding safe countries of origin in its national legislation and a list of safe countries of origin was developed, giving the Swedish Migration Agency increased possibilities to use accelerated procedures for asylum seekers from countries on the list.
- COVID-19 procedure: Asylum interviews conducted remotely were used widely as a consequence of the Covid-19 situation.
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): In a case concerning a man from Afghanistan with severe mental illness, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) considered that Sweden had not sufficiently investigated whether the man could actually access care in Afghanistan and found that Sweden had failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- UN Committee Against Torture (CAT): In a case concerning an Afghan national who had converted to Christianity, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) found that Sweden had failed to undertake an individualized assessment of the personal and real risk that the individual would face in Afghanistan, given the failure to place his evidence in the context of his cultural and educational background, failure to obtain and include in its assessment independent medical evidence, failure to consider evidence as a whole and the failure to accurately represent responses by the applicant.
- Re-availment of support for Afghans: Following the decision by the SMA on 16 July 2021 to temporarily stop all deportations to Afghanistan following the Taliban take-over, many Afghans with enforceable expulsion decisions were able to apply for individual decisions to temporarily halt their expulsions, and subsequently to reavail themselves of financial support and accommodation. However, this resulted in a situation where many of these individuals could not regain such support, including Afghans who had submitted subsequent applications but were not yet granted a re-examination, Afghans whose applications for extending residence permits for upper-secondary education or work had been rejected, Dublin returnees, and others who simply lacked information on how to apply.
Detention of asylum seekers
- Two precedent rulings were made by the Migration Court of Appeal regarding the national rules on detention and the application of the Reception Conditions Directive. In the first case, the Migration Court of Appeal found that Article 8(3)(d) of the Reception Conditions Directive does not allow the detention of asylum seekers under the Aliens Act when they are not detained as part of a return procedure covered by the Return Directive at the time of the detention decision. In the second case, the Migration Court of Appeal found that there were grounds to detain a person who had been granted a re-examination of his right to a residence permit based on protection grounds following a subsequent application. Since the Reception Conditions Directive was applicable, the Court expressed that the detention had to be in accordance with the Directive.
Content of international protection
- Lifting of the Temporary Law: The law governing temporary limitations on the possibility of being granted a residence permit in Sweden, which was introduced in 2016, ceased on 19 July 2020. However, several restrictions introduced through the Temporary Law were made permanent through changes to the Aliens Act, including a shift to temporary residence permits for beneficiaries of international protection, requirements regarding qualification time, ability to provide for oneself and good conduct as requisites for being eligible for permanent residence permits, limitations regarding family reunification and requirements regarding income and housing for family reunification.
Response to the situation in Ukraine
On 24 February 2022, the Swedish Migration Agency decided to suspend decision-making in Ukrainian asylum cases and to suspend the enforcement of expulsion decisions to Ukraine. The Temporary Protection Directive has been transposed into Swedish law and can be found in Ch. 21 of the Aliens Act.
Sweden initially only granted Temporary protection to persons falling within the narrow scope of persons eligible for protection:
- Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine and who left the country on or after 24 February 2022,
- Refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection residing in Ukraine and who left the country on or after 24 February 2022,
- Family members to persons falling within the two categories above.
The Government later decided to expand the scope to also include persons, falling within the scope of article 2.1 and 2.2 of the European Council’s implementing decision, who have entered Sweden from 30 October 2021 to 23 February 2022 and remained in the country.
People being granted Temporary protection are given a residence and work permit until 4 March 2023.
Applications for asylum or residence permits on other grounds from persons eligible for Temporary protection will be granted such protection and their application for residence permit on other grounds will be struck. If they have applied for asylum, their right to protection status as refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection will be handled at a later stage. However, decision-making is suspended in such cases at the time of writing.
Persons who have been granted Temporary Protection can subsequently apply for protection status. However, decision-making is suspended in such cases at the time of writing.
Persons granted Temporary Protection are entitled to accommodation and financial support at the same level as for asylum-seekers. The level of financial support has not been adjusted since 1994. Persons granted Temporary protection cannot register as residents in Sweden, meaning that they are not entitled to certain benefits. Adults who have Temporary protection are only entitled to healthcare that “cannot be postponed”. Children who have Temporary protection are entitled to the same healthcare as all other children in Sweden.
The SMA’s interpretation is that there are no special rules regarding family reunification for persons granted Temporary Protection and that the general rules apply. This means that people on TP in general will not have the right to family reunification.
The Swedish government introduced requirements on ID controls for passengers on ferries to Sweden (on voyages longer than 20 nautical miles). The controls are to be carried out by the ferry operators, and persons who cannot present a valid photo ID are not allowed to travel. This is an obstacle for persons wanting to seek international protection in Sweden and who do not have valid photo ID.
The government also drafted a similar proposal for ID controls on buses, trains and shorter ferry trips, however this has been put on hold.