New chance for “hidden” asylum families

So-called 'hidden' asylum seekers, who have gone into hiding in Sweden after having their application turned down, will have to wait another month before coming forward without risking being thrown out of the country.

The government and its coalition partners, the Left Party and the Greens, agreed on Thursday to put forward a joint proposal on changes to immigration laws.

The changes, which are expected to come into force at the beginning of November, will give the Swedish Board of Migration the option to re-examine cases of asylum seekers who are facing deportation – especially when such a move would affect children who have spent a significant portion of their lives in Sweden.

“The best way is for us to make a change to the legislation which would allow us to bring forward the possibility for the Board of Migration to test these cases,” said Migration Minister Barbro Holmberg.

She told Swedish Radio that the board would also have the power to stop deportations.

The precise contents of the proposal are not yet clear and negotiations between the parties will continue on Friday.

But one of the most important questions under debate is the criteria which will be used for determining whether or not an asylum seeker has the right to residency in Sweden. One factor could be the length of time they have been in the country, but Barbro Holmberg emphasised the role that children will play in the decision.

“I believe that the majority will be able to stay,” she said.

“There are a great many families with children who have been in Sweden for a long time – this is about children who maybe don’t know their homeland, or rather have experienced Sweden as their homeland.”

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