Minister announces slight changes to tough asylum laws

2:13 min

Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told reporters that, after receiving sharp criticism from groups reviewing the law, the government would tweak its proposed draft law on Sweden's asylum policy.

The basic aim of the government’s proposal remains: to limit immigration by lowering Swedish standards to that acceptable within EU law. Temporary, not permanent residence, is to be the default for refugees, until they get jobs, and fewer are allowed to bring their families.

But following the consultation the government is to make smaller changes in the proposed asylum and immigration law.

Temporary residence permit for refugees will be extended from 12 to 13 months, so that people pass the time limit to be covered by social benefits such as child support.

To avoid encouraging young people to leave school and get a job, the government will only allow people over 25, or who have a high school graduation, to get permanent residency through employment.

Around half of Sweden’s so-called quota refugee places will be used to bring in family members for refugees.

In certain limited cases child refugees will get permanent leave to stay or refugees be allowed to bring over their families. But this is expected to cover very few people, says Minister Morgan Johansson.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Johansson started by saying drawing up the proposal was the "most difficult task in 20 years" and recalled the 2015 massive influx of immigrants, when 163,000 applied for asylum in Sweden, and underlined that this cannot happen again.

But during the consultation period the new law was roundly criticised by bodies including the Swedish Red Cross.

The minister responds accepts that there is bound to be protest when a proposal makes a certain situation worse, “all down the line,” but says that some of the bodies consulted do not think the government should have done anything at all.