For those facing deportation, new policy may offer relief

2:05 min

A new report, turned over to the Migration Minister on Wednesday, suggests making it easier for people living in limbo in Sweden to get residence permits.

"We believe that if our suggestion goes through, it can mean that a number of people would be granted residence permits earlier than they otherwise would have been," Anna Lundberg, the government-appointed investigator, told Swedish Radio News.

A year ago, the government appointed an investigator to figure out how to reduce the number of cases where people are living in limbo in Sweden, that is, asylum-seekers who have been issued deportation or expulsion orders but whose countries refuse to take them back or who are stateless.

The problem is, Lundberg explains, that these people wind up stranded, in a judicial sense: they can't return, but they don't get residence permits here either. And this means that Sweden may be putting their human rights in jeopardy, she explained to Dagens Nyheter.

She proposes that the solution is not to wait until failed asylum-seekers are rejected by their own countries when they try to go back. But instead to grant them residence permits before that happens by predicting when it will be an issue.

Lundberg admits it can be difficult to make that judgment in advance, but argues that it is possible, by taking into account information about the country concerned, how the situation has looked previously, and general knowledge about different political interests there.

If the suggestions in her report are passed by Parliament, they would go into effect on September 1st, 2018, but she cautions that the number of people affected would likely be few. 

"It's important that we don't create expectations for people whose asylum applications have been rejected," she told DN.