Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions


Country Report: Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


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Under the Law on the Reception of Asylum Seekers (LMA), reductions in the asylum seeker’s allowance can be made for adults if they refuse to cooperate in the asylum procedure or refuse to respect an expulsion order.[1] Lack of cooperation may consist e.g. in refusing to take measures to obtain identity documents or refusing to appear at arranged appointments with the Migration Agency. Such a restriction of material reception conditions is not permitted in respect of children, however.

Asylum seekers have the right to appeal these decisions to the County Administrative Court, however appeals are almost always rejected. These reductions are phased and amount initially to 35-40% of the allowance as indicated in the section on Forms and Levels of Material Reception Conditions. Some people whom Sweden is unable to expel can live at this level for many years. Currently, there are 19,168 persons with legally enforceable removal orders registered with the Migration Agency and who had not absconded in this situation. They also lose the right to work after a final decision is taken on their case.

According to the LMA the right to aid ceases when there is a deportation decision that is legally enforceable and when the time limit for voluntary departure (which is usually four weeks) has expired.[2] However, according to Section 11 LMA, if a deportation decision is not practically enforceable and the applicant has cooperated to the furthest extent possible, then there could be an exemption from the removal of aid. This always applies if there are minor children in the household but the level of support for the adults is in any case also when such exemption is granted, reduced from 61 SEK a day to 42 SEK. However, if the family goes into hiding or leaves the reception system then no allowance is paid.

 A stated above, a decision by the Migration Agency to cease aid may be appealed to the Administrative Court.[3] An appeal must be submitted no later than three weeks after that the person concerned was notified of the decision. In June 2017 the Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta Förvaltningsdomstolen), decided that a rejected asylum seeker who is absent or not cooperating to avoid deportation falls under the scope of the LMA-regime and therefore does not have the right to any social- or emergency aid according to the Social Services Act. According to the Court this applies even though the person’s current situation is such that they de facto cannot obtain any aid according to LMA. Keeping in mind that it is very hard to meet the cooperation criteria the decision basically excludes all absconded families from any social aid at all.[4]

In June 2018, the Supreme Administrative Court decided on social aid for an irregularly residing migrant who had never been subject to the LMA regime. In this case, according to the court, applicants in an irregular position such as this have the right to emergency aid, and in extraordinary situations the aid can exceed  that. In this case, such an extraordinary situation existed since the applicant could not be deported because he was subject to forensic psychiatric care, a penalty due to criminal activity. Since deportation was not an option under these circumstances this led the court to conclude that the applicant should be treated in the same way as applicants who had been granted residence permits with regard to the Social service Act.[5]

In a judgment of 2019 concerning an adult Bidoon from Kuwait, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Stockholm stated that the applicant had not taken sufficient initiatives to try and leave Sweden for example by obtaining a certificate from the Kuwaiti authorities stating he would not be admitted to Kuwait. His appeal concerning the right to remuneration and housing was therefore denied.[6]

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

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

[3] Section 22, Law on Reception of Asylum Seekers and Others, 1994:137.

[4] Högsta Förvaltningsdomstolens Dom, Decision 1527–1529-16, 5 June 2017, available in Swedish at:

[5] Högsta Förvaltningsdomstolens Dom, Decision 4464-17 and 6418-17, 11 June 2018, available in Swedish at:

[6] Administrative Court of Appeal of Sweden, UM 4419-19.


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