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Foreign Ministry rules hamper family reunions

Published torsdag 22 december 2016 kl 07.00
Lobby group: This is absurd
(3:46 min)
Milad Malki talks with his mom in Libanon. Next to him his dad Chamoun Malki and Swedish Radio-reporter Karin Wirenhed.
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Milad Malki (in the middle) talks to his mom in Libanon. Credit: Johanna Sjövall/Sveriges Radio
Annika Söder, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
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Annika Söder, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Credit: Karin Wirenhed/Sveriges Radio

The Foreign Ministry has made several decisions that make it virtually impossible for many Syrians who have the right to reunite with their families here to get to Sweden, Swedish Radio News reports.

One of the decisions that is being criticised now is that Syrians will not be able to apply for family reunion at the new embassy that is being set up in Lebanon.

"It's absurd. The place that is closest, you can't apply from," says Anders Sundquist at the organisation the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre.

Several other EU-countries allow Syrians to be interviewed at their embassies in Lebanon, and Syrians who have an appointment at such an embassy will get a short-term entry visa into Lebanon so they can get to their interviews.

But the Swedish Foreign Ministry has decided that Syrians will only be allowed to be interviewed at Swedish embassies in five countries where Syrians need an ordinary visa to enter. And the Swedish Foreign Ministry has decided that its embassies will not issue letters to certify that people have embassy appointments.

Syrians are allowed to travel to several countries without a visa, such as Sudan or Iran. But from there, they cannot apply for family reunion in Sweden.

According to the Migration Agency's forecast a change in the Foreign Ministry rules could make a big difference in the number of family members who come to Sweden.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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