Sweden Gives Rejected Asylum Seekers A Second Chance
Sweden’s parliament has voted to give asylum seekers who’s application has been rejected, a second chance to obtain a residence permit.
The law, which comes into effect next week and is valid until March 31, 2006, concerns rejected asylum seekers whose deportation order was not carried out due to conditions in their home countries, as well as families with children who went into hiding in Sweden after having their applications were refused.
The Swedish immigration authority, Migrationsverket, said an estimated 20,000 people will now be entitled to file new applications, which is currently not allowed under Swedish law.
The government said the move would not guarantee all immigrants a legal status automatically, but opposition politicians and immigration officials said it amounted to a mass amnesty for those in hiding or awaiting deportation.
” We are now breaking a deadlock and a vacuum in which our society and many people have landed in,” - Barbro Holmberg, Minister For Immigration.
Immigration officials quoted in Swedish media said they had orders to each process an average of 3.5 asylum requests per day, or one every two hours, with the aim of clearing the application backlog by the end of March.
Politicians from the centre-right opposition claimed the law would make it easier for criminals to gain residency, and could even draw illegal immigrants from other European countries to Sweden in the hope of gaining a visa.