During the year many countries in the EU and Southeast Europe experienced an unprecedented wave of migration from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, consisting of a mix of asylum seekers/potential refugees, economic migrants, and trafficking victims, among others. For simplicity, this report will refer to these populations as “migrants and asylum seekers” if more specific information is not available.
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Applicants may appeal against unfavorable asylum decisions.
From January to December 1, 149,028 persons applied for asylum. The Migration Agency granted asylum to 29,861 persons, of whom 1,900 were refugees resettled under the auspices of UNHCR, 9,782 received humanitarian protection, 17,833 received subsidiary protection, and 346 received temporary protection. In addition, the country received 39 asylum seekers relocated from Italy under EU auspices. Because of the pressure of numbers of persons arriving in the country under neither UNHCR nor EU auspices, on November 30, the EU Commission agreed to relocate an undecided number of persons from the country to other EU member states. Since the Migration Agency needed approximately one year to process an application for asylum, excluding appeals, many cases adjudicated during the year concerned persons who applied for asylum in previous years.
On November 24, to cope with the large inflow of refugees and migrants, the government tightened entry standards to the minimal international and EU levels.
Safe Country of Origin/Transit: In accordance with EU regulations, the government denied asylum to persons who had previously registered in other EU member states or in countries with which the country maintained reciprocal return agreements. During the year the Migration Agency decided to return 6,402 such persons to those countries, except to Greece. Many of those persons remained in the country during their appeals. By October 15, police deported approximately 1,000 persons.
Refugee Abuse: As of November 30, 25 cases of attempted arson against housing for asylum seekers were reported during the year. Police arrested two men for planning to burn down housing for asylum seekers in Borlange on September 9.
Although government policies mandate housing for asylum seekers, the Migration Agency occasionally was not able to provide adequate shelter due to overwhelming numbers of applicants. On November 5, the minister for migration announced that the government could no longer guarantee housing for newly arrived asylum seekers. On November 14, authorities began to house some persons applying for asylum in the city of Malmo in tents, and on November 19, some asylum seekers were forced to sleep outdoors in inclement weather due to the housing shortage. Authorities provided asylum seekers with food, clean water, medical care, and other amenities.
Durable Solutions: The government authorized financial support for the repatriation of asylum seekers denied residence in the country in the amount of 30,000 kronor ($3,500) per adult and 15,000 kronor ($1,750) per child, with a maximum of 75,000 kronor ($8,700) per family. In 2014 the government provided repatriation support to 2,016 persons, most of them of Iraqi origin.
Temporary Protection: See above, Access to Asylum.