Migration Minister Tobias Billström. Photo: Malin Thelin/Sveriges Radio

More child refugees to be given asylum

"Hopefully we will see a more humanitarian approach to this"
4:11 min

More child refugees are to be allowed to stay in Sweden following the clarification of an agreement between the opposition Green Party and the centre-right government.

The decision, to change one paragraph in the Aliens Law, was made last year, and will mean that children under 18 and their parents will be given asylum if the circumstances are "particularly distressing". The current phrasing is "especially distressing".

Now the Migration Department has published a list of concrete cases when the new phrasing could be used, for example if the child has a serious illness and moving again would be harmful to their health. How long they have already lived in Sweden would also play a part, news agency TT reports.

The Swedish Red Cross have welcomed the changes, but Alexandra Segenstedt, lawyer at the Red Cross, says that they would have wanted the changes to apply not only to children but to adults as well. 

"It has improved in the sense that the strict definition has been lowered. So hopefully this will change the process in a humanitarian way. However, we would have liked to see same changes apply for adults," Segenstedt says to Radio Sweden. 

Segenstedt adds that it's still difficult to say exactly how the law will be interpreted, but hopes for a more humanitarian approach to the asylum process.

Migration Minister Tobias Billström says there are no estimates as to how many children and their families might be allowed to stay due to the rule change

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