Immigration rules ‘split refugee families’

Changes to immigration rules that make it more difficult for refugees to bring their families to Sweden have been criticized by the Swedish Board of Migration and the Red Cross.

Previously people who have qualified as ‘quota refugees’ have been able to bring their families to Sweden under the quota refugee scheme. But under new changes introduced by the government, families do not qualify as quota refugees, according to Sveriges Radio.

The changes mean that families have to apply separately for visas to Sweden once their relative has been accepted as a quota refugee.

Officials at the Migration Board say that this can often lead to women and children being left alone and vulnerable in their home countries. It is often impractical for them to seek visas in Sweden, particularly if they live in countries without Swedish embassies.

A Red Cross spokeswoman told Sveriges Radio that worry over relatives left behind was making it more difficult for refugees in Sweden to integrate.