Sweden’s government unveils new asylum law

While some tough ones have been softened, the new rules are still intended to act as a deterrent, the migration authority again expects up to 140.000 new refugees

When the influx of refugees reached Sweden last summer, where the red-green government was under pressure from the right-wing Sweden Democrats, they finally drew the line of friction in November. The country, which until then had been largely open to asylum seekers and practiced hospitality, made an abrupt U-turn (Sweden: The "Rough Power of Humanitarianism" abdicates).

The terrorist attack in Paris was another trigger for the turnaround. In addition, there was a lack of solidarity on the part of most other EU countries, which refused to take in refugees at all and instead, like Hungary as a model, built border fences and enacted emergency laws. The decision was made to put a stop to the admission of migrants and to "drastically reduced" . Last year there were about 160.000 refugees arrived in Sweden.

Most asylum seekers who are recognized are to receive only temporary residence permits under the decisions, except for the EU-dispersed "Quota refugees", Children and their families. There will be an extension only if there is proof of income from work. Entry into the labor market for recognized migrants should be made easier. Restriction of family reunification, stricter residence conditions, acceleration of procedures, identity checks, construction of asylum centers where refugees must live, restriction of child benefits, etc. Were decided. There are plans to limit the right of residence in order to bring the Swedish asylum law in line with the minimum requirements of the EU.

In January, the Minister of the Interior announced that up to 80.000 of the refugees who entered the country in 2015 to be deported, as generally only 55 percent were recognized. However, it remained unclear how the mass deportation will proceed. In March, border controls were extended for another month because the EU had failed to secure the air borders, according to the government, which considers solving the refugee problem the most "most difficult task" described.

Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister of Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, presented how the government intends to tighten asylum laws, also with the intention of deterring people abroad from seeking protection in Sweden. However, after critical objections from organizations, authorities and experts, the changes will not be implemented as sharply as originally planned. The changes, however, are more symbolic in nature. The Social Democrat Johansson told journalists that the change in the asylum law was the most difficult task for him so far.

For example, temporary residence permits will no longer be limited to 12 months, but will be extended to 13 months, which means that refugees will be entitled to support such as child benefits for a month longer. Those who find a job can get a permanent residence permit. People under the age of 25 are excluded, unless they have completed higher education. The aim is to prevent young people from dropping out of school to look for a job. In exceptional cases, family reunification and the granting of permanent residence permits for children, for example for health reasons, will be facilitated. Half of the 1900 places agreed upon with the EU "quota places" Will serve to reunite families.

Johansson stressed that the government has not closed the borders: "More than 100 asylum seekers arrive daily. Who are doing more than anyone else, we are doing the grossest humanitarian achievement since World War II. I think we should be proud of that." Even though the number of refugees has decreased compared to last year, the Migration Board is again expecting 70.000, at most up to 140.000 refugees this year, including 27,000 unaccompanied.000 unaccompanied minors. Johansson threatened that if nothing is done, the situation from last summer could repeat itself. If parliament approves the new regulations, they could be in place by summer.

The new proposals have been criticized by the Left and the Greens as being too tough, but not tough enough for the Sweden Democrats. Mattias Karlsson, a spokesman for the party, said: "To prevent Sweden from becoming the most attractive country in Northern Europe, we need stricter rules than our neighboring countries. We will not get that with this."

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