Short overview of the reception system


Country Report: Short overview of the reception system Last updated: 30/04/24


Swedish Refugee Law Center Visit Website

In Sweden, the Swedish Migration Agency is responsible for the reception of asylum seekers. It provides temporary accommodation while awaiting the decision on the application for international protection. The SMA will cover the costs of accommodation if the applicant does not have enough resources. The applicant is in most cases free to choose and arrange their own accommodation if they do not wish to stay with the SMA. As regards unaccompanied minors, they will be channelled to a local municipality which is then responsible for the reception of the minor.

The right to accommodation starts as soon as an application for international protection is made. If an asylum seeker has been living in accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency, then the Swedish Migration Agency can help them secure housing once they have received a residence permit. The right to accommodation ends once the applicant has received a notice of rejection of the application for international protection, a deportation order, or if the deadline for voluntarily departure has expired. This applies to all adults and persons not living with underaged children. Families with children and unaccompanied children may however continue to live in the temporary accommodations by the SMA and to benefit from the right to financial support until they leave Sweden or until they have deregistered from the reception system. Also, if an applicant applies for a work permit after the rejection of his asylum claim has become effective, they will be deregistered from the reception system and will no longer be entitled to financial support nor accommodations. This also applies to family members who have jointly applied for a residence permit.

As for beneficiaries of international protection who are granted a protection status by the SMA and who do not secure housing for themselves, they will be referred to a municipality who will then become responsible for arranging housing. The municipality becomes responsible two months at the latest after it has been designated and the beneficiary can remain in the SMA reception centre until responsibility has transferred to the municipality. However, if the beneficiary declines the offer of moving to the designated municipality the beneficiary must immediately arrange for their own housing.[1]

The SMA reception centres are mostly shared flats. Families are always given a room on their own. Single people must share a room with others of the same sex. For applicant with special needs, the SMA will try to arrange a living situation adapted to their situation.[2]

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 temporary stop their expulsions, and following that to regain financial support and accommodation. However, this resulted in a situation where many 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 rejected, Dublin returnees and others who simply lacked information on how to apply. This was widely criticised by civil society organisations.[3] While currently not a particular problem for Afghans since their cases are now being examined, the underlying problems to the system has not yet been resolved despite the criticism. There is however a commission of inquiry set up by the Government that partly focuses on this issue.[4]




[1] Migration Agency, ’Bosättning i en kommun’, available in Swedish at:

[2] See Migration Agency, ‘Accommodation with the Migration Agency’, available at:; See also: Migration Agency, ‘Accommodation’, available at:

[3]  See for example Swedish Refugee Law Center, Ge afghaner tillfälligt uppehållstillstånd, 9 September 2021, available at:

[4] Government, Ett ordnat initialt mottagande av asylsökande, dir. 2021:71, 16 September 2021, 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