Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 10/07/24


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In Sweden, all asylum applicants have access to the benefits of the reception system, allowing them to access housing and a daily allowance. An exception applies to certain applicants since 2016 (e.g., persons subject to a deportation order etc.), as is explained further below. If they have resources, applicants are required to use these first, as the provision of reception conditions is conditional upon a lack of sufficient resources. It is the financial allowance that may be restricted, a person still has a right to accommodation.

Upon the lodging of the asylum application, the Migration Agency reception officer enquires about the applicant’s financial situation.[1] An asylum seeker who wants to receive daily allowance must apply for it in writing. The application must contain an explanation that the information provided in the application is correct.[2] Anyone who has been granted daily allowance is obliged to report changed income and other conditions that may affect the right to or the amount of the aid.

Daily allowance should only be paid to a foreigner who does not have sufficient funds. An individual assessment must be made. If applicants have or obtain access to cash, bank deposits, or other assets that are easily converted into cash and cash equivalents, they must primarily use these for their livelihood. The applicants’ ability to use any assets that exist in another country for their daily life should also be taken into account. Such an individual needs test is a prerequisite for the application of the provisions on reduction of the daily allowance.[3] The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that the Migration Agency may revoke a decision on daily allowance or reduce the allowance if it is later proven that the applicant has personal financial resources.[4]

Following an amendment to the Reception of Asylum Seekers Act (LMA) introduced in 2016 some applicants no longer have the right to reception conditions when they have received a decision on deportation which can no longer be appealed, or whose period for voluntary return has ended (they are then no longer formally considered to be asylum applicants). This is the case for adult applicants without children who then lose their right to reception conditions i.e. the right to a daily allowance and accommodation provided by the Migration Agency. Adult applicants always have the right to emergency health care (health care that cannot be deferred, maternal healthcare, healthcare related to abortion and health care in relation to contraception).[5] If they refuse to leave their accommodation at that point, they may be forcibly removed and be subjected to criminal sanctions.[6] If a family is in a similar situation the adult is entitled to a reduced allowance, whereas the children are still allowed standard allowance. The family will also keep their right to accommodation. The restrictive changes introduced in 2016 have left many persons destitute and homeless or reliant on support from individuals or civil society organisations. These restrictive changes have led to criticism from civil society, as organisations such as the Red Cross have pointed out that the reform has led more people to turn to civil society organisations to ask for assistance with accommodation, food and health care.[7]

In cases where it is considered “obviously unreasonable” to cease the right to reception conditions, the right to such conditions will not cease and particularly vulnerable persons can therefore be exempted.[8]

If an applicant does not cooperate with regards to a transfer according to the Dublin Regulation, a decision is usually made to reduce the daily allowance to the asylum seeker because of their unwillingness to cooperate.[9]

Families who have left Sweden for another EU country and are returned according to the Dublin Regulation have no right to re-access accommodation from the Migration Agency.

The restricted access to reception conditions apply until a person is again considered to fall within the scope of the Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others (LMA). This can happen after a subsequent application is handed in but only if a person is granted a re-examination or receives a stay of enforcement decision. An expulsion order is valid for four years. After four years it is possible to apply for asylum again. At this point the applicant will once again fall within the scope of LMA and will hence have access to reception conditions without restrictions.

Another situation where a person in need of protection may be excluded from the benefits of the reception system is where the applicant already has a residence permit in Sweden but wants to be granted protection status. The Supreme Administrative Court has found that in such situations the persons do not fall within the scope of LMA and thus cannot claim assistance for accommodation and allowances for asylum applicants.[10]

In 2020, new rules were implemented for asylum-seekers who choose to settle in so-called socio-economically challenged areas. These persons are no longer entitled to a daily allowance.[11] The aim with this measure was to combat segregation and encourage more asylum-seekers to settle in areas with better prospects. Municipalities can report if certain areas or the whole municipality is “socio-economically” challenged. The Government decides which areas may be considered as “socio-economically challenged”.[12] The legislation covers 32 municipalities.[13]

Reports from the Swedish Migration Agency indicate that this legislative change did not result in a change of practice yet, as asylum seekers continue to settle in “socio-economically challenged areas”.[14] According to the Swedish Migration Agency 3,067 asylum seekers settled in such areas in 2021.[15] In 2022, 6,526 asylum seekers settled in such areas.[16] In 2023, 1556 asylum seekers where denied daily allowance based on them living in a “socio-economically challenged area”.[17]

On 14 October 2022 the parties in the now new Government and the Sweden Democrats expressed in the Tidö Agreement that it intends to end altogether the opportunity for asylum seekers to choose and arrange their own accommodation. The government is now implementing investments for this new system for receiving asylum seekers. The investment includes funds so that the Swedish Migration Agency can prepare the establishment of reception centres.[18] The government wants to introduce transit centres where asylum seekers are to spend the entire asylum process. An ongoing inquiry has been given new instructions to analyse and develop proposals on this. The inquiry is to deliver its result the 31st of May 2024.[19] The starting point must be that asylum seekers must live in reception centers for the entire time that their asylum application is examined.




[1] Section 17, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[2] Section 8 förordningen (1994:361) om mottagande av asylsökande m.fl.

[3] Section 15, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[4] The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden [Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen] Case no HFD 2023 ref 3. English summary of the case available at:

[5] Section 7,  Law  (2013: 407) on health care for certain foreigners staying in Sweden without the necessary permits (Lag (2013:407) om hälso- och sjukvård till vissa utlänningar som vistas i Sverige utan nödvändiga tillstånd) .

[6] Sections 11-12a, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[7] Sections 11-12a, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137; Swedish Red Cross, Consequences of the amendment to Sweden’s Reception of Asylum Seekers Act, 2016, available in Swedish at:; VSIU, Report about Legal Uncertainties in the Asylum Process For Unaccompanied Minors in Sweden, 26 February 2018, available at:; Rapport om rättsosäkerhet i asylprocessen för ensamkommande barn och unga, September 2017, available in Swedish at:

[8] Sections 11, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[9] The Reception Act (1994:137) Section 10.

[10] HFD 2022 ref. 40, 13 October 2022, available in Swedish at:

[11] Section 10a, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[12] See section 10 a, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137. 

[13] Förordning (2018:151) om statsbidrag till kommuner med socioekonomiskt eftersatta områden Svensk författningssamling 2018:2018:151 t.o.m. SFS 2020:1266 – Riksdagen, available in Swedish at: To check whether an area is considered ”socio-economically challenged” it is possible to use this site: .

[14] SVT, Migrationsverket ser ingen tydlig effekt av nya ebo-lagen, available in Swedish at:

[15] Information received 11th of January 2023 from the Statistics Unit at the Swedish Migration Agency via e-mail (

[16] Information received 11th of January 2023 from the Statistics Unit at the Swedish Migration Agency via e-mail.

[17] Information received 5th of February 2024 from the Statistics Unit at the Swedish Migration Agency via e-mail.

[18] Press Release from the government concerning the 2024 budget. Available in Swdish at:

[19] Supplementary directive to the Investigation on an orderly initial reception of asylum seekers, 22 June 2023, available in Swedish 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