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Sweden Tightens Asylum Rules: An Overview of Expected Changes

Cracking Down On Asylum: Sweeping Changes Expected

Let’s talk about a major shift happening in Sweden’s migration department right now. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter recently covered a story on some huge changes to come. The Sweden Democrats’ migration spokesperson, Ludvig Aspling, and Maria Malmer Stenergard, Sweden’s Migration Minister, are set to enforce stricter rules on asylum.

The Big Picture

They aim to tighten Sweden’s asylum rules to the minimum level allowed under EU law. Basically, it’s like this – the higher-ups want Sweden to meet its asylum commitments, but they don’t want to go beyond what EU law and other international obligations require.

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In their words, “the government is now carrying out a necessary paradigm shift in Swedish migration policy.” A significant part of this plan involves judge Boswell, a Stockholm prosecutor.

Why Boswell, You Ask?

Boswell, one of the six civil servants appointed by the Sweden Democrats in November 2022, will now sit on the Coordination Committee. This committee, part of a deal called the Tidö Agreement, allows the Sweden Democrats to track and manage promises made to them by the three governing parties. This selection is interesting because she hasn’t been publicly involved with the far-right party before.

Boswell is tasked with examining whether to stop asylum seekers from obtaining permanent residency, and may also propose ways to strip permanent residency from those who have already been granted it. Boswell’s mission also involves figuring out how residency permits can be revoked if conditions improve in the asylum seeker’s home country, negating their need for asylum.

Additionally, Boswell is to investigate ways to expedite clear-cut cases where an applicant has no grounds for asylum – without going through the full assessment process. Also, she’s expected to evaluate the allocation of resources, including limiting the use of translators where they are not legally necessary.

Fun fact: According to EU regulations, translators are only required if they are necessary for a fair legal process.

Balancing Act

Critics argue that Sweden’s historically lenient system has made the country a hot spot for asylum seekers, resulting in unnecessary costs. The Migration Minister and Counsellor seem to agree, writing that Sweden’s asylum rules have been “far too generous compared to countries in our immediate region”. They argue this has incentivised long-distance travel through the EU, slowed down the asylum assessment process, and increased its expense.

Boswell’s Big Task

Boswell has until January 2025 to submit her recommendations on which laws need to change to meet the EU legal minimum, and till October 2025 to do the rest of her tasks. It’s no small task, and the reforms will potentially impact the lives of many.

However, it’s important to note that these changes have a human dimension too. While tightening international commitments, indexing it with the EU’s legal minimum, the stories of individuals and their often harrowing journey to seek asylum in Sweden should not be forgotten. It’s crucial to maintain a clear perspective – balancing Sweden’s obligations to its citizens while aiding those seeking refuge from conflict and persecution.

Remember, changes may be on the way, but the human spirit remains resilient. Over the years, expat communities have significantly contributed to Sweden’s vibrant multicultural fabric. This is just another phase in the continuous process of navigating immigration and asylum policies, which will hopefully lead to a more balanced and strategic approach to migration issues in the future.

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