Under the new guidelines, refugees must be able to show that there is a specific threat against them if they are to be considered eligible for a permanent residence permit.
The head of the Migration Board, Dan Eliasson, based his decision on the Migration Court of Appeal’s assessment that Iraq is not currently involved in an armed conflict.
“There is good reason to reevaluate the legal meaning of the term ‘armed conflict’ and discuss whether it should also include the chaos and terror that we are now seeing in Iraq,” said Moderate Party MP Ulrika Karlsson. She added however that the party has not yet had time to form an official policy on the issue.
Göte Wahlström, Migration Board committee member and Social Democrat spokesman on asylum issues, was also critical of the new directive.
“I am concerned about this new stance, as it represents a marked change from our previous position with regard to Iraq. The only way we politicians can change this situation is by means of a legislative amendment,” he told news agency TT.
Initial reactions from the remaining parliamentary parties suggest that the Greens and Left Party would also support a legislative amendment, whereas the Liberals, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats are opposed to such a change.