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New law sparks concern for young asylum seekers

Published måndag 15 maj kl 11.08
"It's created hope and confusion."
(2:33 min)
Ett klassrum med en lärare och elever
Populäraste gymnasieprogrammen. Credit: Berit Roald/TT

The introduction of legislation, allowing asylum seekers to remain in the country to complete upper secondary schooling, is coming under growing criticism for being overly complicated, leaving asylum seeking students uncertain of their future.

The lack of clarity has prompted concern among asylum seekers who are uncertain as to whether they will have the asylum applications rejected, or whether they will be able to complete their studies.

The law relates to "gymnasium" students attending the two to three years of voluntary education that follow the completion of compulsory education at the age of 16.

Ramazan from Afghanistan is taking an introductory language programme in Uppsala, and is applying for college places.

"The Migration Agency has rejected my application, and I might be sent back to Afghanistan in two months," he says , adding that he does not know whether the new law will help him. He says that he has heard about the new law on social media and from friends, but has not obtained any clear information.

Concern that is shared by Esmat Fikrat, who helps out at Ramazan's school.

It has created hope and confusion," Fikrat says.

"The majority of young people think that they'll be able to stay. There's confusion because the new law is hard to interpret," he adds.

When the government presented the legislation last year, critics attacked the law for being over-complicated.

The Swedish Migration Agency said that the new law would be hard to apply and infringe rights, and the Stockholm Appeal Court advised against its introduction.

Following a number of changes, Sweden's Council on Legislation said that the legislation had been "further complicated", and warned of "long processing times".

After further changes, the law was passed by parliament earlier this month.

However, Anne Ramberg, general secretary of the Swedish Bar Association says the changes were minimal.

"Some linguistic and editorial changes have been made that perhaps make things clearer, but much of the criticism that we and the Council on Legislation brought up previously still stands," Ramberg says.

She adds that she supports the aim of improving chances for young people to integrate and complete their studies, but remains critical of how the law is phrased.

The law is due to enter into effect on June 1.

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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