Freedom of movement


Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 10/07/24


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There are no restrictions in law or practice to the freedom of movement of asylum seekers within Sweden. However, if accommodation is requested from the Migration Agency, asylum seekers are not free to choose their place of residence.[1] A person may be entitled to accommodation that is adapted to special needs if the person is in a particularly vulnerable situation. If a person has special needs regarding their living situation the person is requested to talk to their reception unit as soon as possible.[2] The assignment to a place of residence is not made on the basis of a formal administrative decision. Asylum seekers are in many cases forced to relocate to reception centres in other cities.[3]

On 14 October 2022 the newly elected Swedish Government announced that it intends 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.[4] The use of such transit centres would likely have an impact on the freedom of movement if they are introduced.

In 2023, the Migration Agency introduced a new kind of departure centres (återvändandecenter). The centres have about 650 places and are situated in Burlöv, Enköping, Malmö, Mölndal and Stockholm. The Migration Agency aims to have 2,000 places at such centres at the end of 2024. It is only persons that are still in the reception system that are entitled to a place in a departure centre, which means that, in practice, it is mainly families with minor children that are entitled to a place in a departure centre. The departure centres are not locked facilities; they may however have an impact on the freedom of movement. This is due to the fact that a person that is offered a place at a departure centre is no longer allowed to remain in the previous accommodation provided by the Migration Agency, meaning they either have to move to a departure centre or arrange accommodation on their own.[5]




[1] Migration Agency, ‘Accomodation with the Migration Agency’, available at:

[2] Migration Agency, ‘Accomodation with the Migration Agency’, available at:

[3] Migration Agency, ‘Accomodation with the Migration Agency’, available at:

[4] Government, ‘Supplementary directive to the Investigation on an orderly initial reception of asylum seekers’, 22 June 2023, available in Swedish here:

[5] Information about the reception centres is 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