Sweden is one of the main destinations of Syrian asylum seekers. In 2015 (January-November) out of a total of 149,028 asylum seekers, 48,276 came from Syria, 7,052 from Eritrea, 7,210 were stateless, 5,127 came from Somalia and 36,261 from Afghanistan.
The recognition rate is at first instance is 56% including Dublin cases and 65% if Dublin cases are excluded. The Migration courts approve 5% of appeals.(this cannot be added to the recognition rate at the Migration Agency). The recognition rate for Syrians for 2015 at first instance up to November is 90% including Dublin and 100% otherwise. 17,086 Syrian applications were granted protection. For Eritrea the recognition rate was 88% / 100% with 6,133 permits granted. For Afghanistan 40% / 75% with 958 permits granted. Stateless applicants were granted asylum in 79% / 95% of cases with 2793 permits granted. Somali recognition rates were 31%/ 71% respectively with 820 cases approved. Recognition rates for Iraq are 23 % / 59% with 496 cases approved. For Iran the rates are 31% / and 61% respectively with 164 cases approved.
Persons obtaining positive decisions can be placed in municipalities as immigrants more quickly. Currently, many apartments rented by the Migration Agency are occupied by persons with legally enforceable expulsion orders (11,921) and persons with permanent residence permits awaiting a place as an immigrant in a municipality (13,749). Therefore giving priority to manifestly well-founded cases eases logistical pressure. The police have been instructed by the government once more to increase their efforts to expel persons with legally enforceable decisions still present in Migration Agency accommodation and in own accommodation in order to make more accommodation available to new arrivals.1
With regard to Somalia, Sweden has recently changed its policy by modifying its assessment of Southern Somalia from an area of internal armed conflict to an area where there is a high level of conflict failing to reach the necessary intensity level of a civil war.2 In a situation of a widespread internal armed conflict, individuals need not prove individual grounds but only that they originate from that area. However, due to the changed assessment of the situation in Somalia, Somali asylum seekers now need to prove that they have been individually affected in order to be granted a residence permit. Therefore the high acceptance rate for Somalis, already receding from 50% in 2012 to less than 40% in 2014, has dropped to 31%.3
Furthermore, many applicants from the Balkan countries have their cases treated as manifestly unfounded even if they are individually assessed. Decision-making resources are diverted to this group when there is a large influx of applicants in order not to miss the 3-month time-limit for dealing with a case as manifestly unfounded (see section on Accelerated Procedures above). Even though Sweden only registers the nationality of asylum seekers and not their ethnicity, many asylum seekers in this group are of Roma origin. Similar procedures are followed with regard to asylum applications from Mongolia.
Due to the fast-track processing of the above nationalities, applications submitted by asylum seekers from other, non-prioritised nationalities can be put on temporary hold by the Migration Agency, thereby causing a prolongation of the timeframe between lodging an asylum application and the actual interview. Currently the Migration Agency has discontinued its policy of informing the applicant on application when the asylum interview would take place. Previously there was at least an eight-month wait which is probably longer now given the large number of applicants. The Migration Agency has been instructed by the government to report back by February 2016 on what measures they will take to curtail the delays in processing.
- 1. See also Government of Sweden, ‘Establishment of New Arrivals in Sweden to be Reformed’, 19 February 2015, available at: http://www.government.se/sb/d/19557/a/254622.
- 2. Migration Agency, Analysis av situationen i Somalia (Analysis of the Situation in Somalia), 26 February 2015, available at: http://lifos.migrationsverket.se/dokument?documentAttachmentId=41769.
- 3. As per Eurostat data, recognition rates include Dublin decisions as “rejection” decisions.