Housing offered by the Migration Agency is either in an apartment, in a normal housing area or at a reception centre, although ordinary apartments is usually the Migration Agency’s primary option for accommodating asylum seekers. Asylum seekers can choose to live at a centre but in that case they might need to move to a town where the Migration Agency can offer them a place. There are differences in the way material reception conditions are provided depending on the procedure (“track”) in which asylum seekers are in. For applicants in the Dublin procedure (“Track 5A”) and the Accelerated Procedure (“Track 4”), for example, accommodation is located close to airports, with the aim of speeding up potential removal from Sweden.
For decades, the general Swedish approach to accommodating asylum seekers has been based on a dispersal or solidarity principle where the “whole of Sweden” model is at the forefront. This means that every municipality is expected to be ready to accommodate asylum seekers. To facilitate this, each County Administrative Board encourages municipalities to sign agreements with the Migration Agency. The majority of municipalities have done so and the recalcitrant ones have been chastised in some contexts. The government is considering whether to make the reception of asylum seekers mandatory, as it already is for the reception of unaccompanied minors. Such a proposal has not been presented yet, however the reception of asylum seekers granted permission to stay has been made mandatory by law in all municipalities. On 23 September 2021 the Swedish Government agreed on updated regulations regarding the distribution of newly arrived persons which entered into force on 1 January 2022. Newly arrived persons in this case refers to new beneficiaries of international protection.
If asylum seekers have their own resources, they must pay for accommodation themselves. If not, accommodation at a centre is free. Single persons need to share a room. A family can have its own room but must expect to share an apartment with other people. It is possible that asylum seekers are moved around within the centre or to another centre during the processing period.
When asylum seekers are granted a residence permit on the basis of employment, they must arrange their own housing. If asylum seekers choose to arrange themselves for a place to live, they are as a rule personally responsible for the cost of their accommodation. If for any reason they cannot continue living in accommodation they have arranged themselves, it is possible for them to move to one of the Migration Agency’s centres that has capacity.
The monthly amounts of financial allowances differ for applicants staying in accommodation centres where food is provided free of charge (and the allowance only covers pocket money), and applicants staying in other accommodation, where the allowance should also cover food.
In any event, beyond food, the allowance should be able to cover clothes and shoes, medical care and medicine, dental care, toiletries, other consumables and leisure activities. If asylum seekers are granted a daily allowance by the Migration Agency, they receive a bank card where the money is deposited.
The levels of financial allowance per day for 2021 are as follows:
|Category of applicant||Allowance in accommodation centres with food provided||Allowance in private accommodation|
|Single adult||24 SEK / €2.37||71 SEK / €7|
|Adults sharing accommodation||19 SEK / €1.87 per person||61 SEK / €6.02 per person|
|Child aged 0-3||12 SEK / €1.18||37 SEK / €3.65|
|Child aged 4-10||12 SEK / €1.18||43 SEK / €4.24|
|Child aged 11-17||12 SEK / €1.18||50 SEK / €4.93|
Source: Migration Agency.
From the third child onwards, the level of financial allowance is reduced by 50%. Some NGOs have campaigned for these levels to be adjusted to the increase in living costs and for the elimination of discrimination against third and subsequent children in relation to the amount of money that is made available, but so far nothing has changed.
Asylum seekers can apply for extra allowances for expenses that are necessary for a minimum living standard, such as cost of winter clothing, glasses, supplements, handicap equipment and infant equipment. The sums are not enough to buy new products only second-hand or used. This special contribution may in some cases be submitted for charges for medical, pharmaceutical and dental costs, which are partly subsidised.
It is noted that the allowance for asylum seekers is considerably lower than the allowance for Swedish nationals in need of social assistance, which covers similar areas of support. The following table relating to the amount of the monthly social welfare allowance as of January 2022 illustrates this difference:
|Category||Asylum seekers||Settled persons on social welfare|
|Single adult||2,130 SEK / €210.03||4,250 SEK / €419.13|
|2 adults||3,660 SEK / € 360.90||6,950 SEK / €685.40|
|1 adult 1 child (aged 2)||3,240 SEK / €319.48||6,840 SEK / €674.56|
|1 adult 2 children (aged 2-5)||4,530 SEK / €446.70||9,620 SEK / €948.72|
|2 adults 2 children (aged 5-12)||6,160 SEK / €607.44||13,500 SEK / €1,331.36|
|2 adults 3 children (aged 2-5-12)||7,020 SEK / €692.24||16,230 SEK / €1,600.59|
|2 adults 4 children (aged 12-14-15-17)||8,160 SEK / €804.69||23,180 SEK / €2,286.00|
Sources: National Social Welfare Board, 1 January 2022; Migration Agency.
 Lag (2016:38) om mottagande av vissa nyanlända invandrare för bosättning, Official Journal 2016:38.