The agency has received a great deal of criticism regarding shortcomings in legal support available for asylum seekers, including complaints that attorneys representing asylum seekers can’t always carry out their responsibilities.
“We are aware of the fact that there are problems, but we hope our new procedures will help increase legal protections for asylum seekers,” said Migration Board general counsel Mikael Ribbenvik to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
On Wednesday, the agency plans to introduce a new set of procedures, including the establishment of a contact list of attorneys and legal representatives which are judged to be competent to handle asylum cases.
In addition, the Migration Board has created a list of lawyers who do not pass muster with the agency and who won’t be offered any cases in the future.
Currently, the Migration Board has a database of around 1,000 approved lawyers, while a total of eight attorneys have been blacklisted.
Failings by attorneys representing asylum seekers not only hurt clients’ chances of gaining asylum, but also has a negative impact on staff at the Migration Board who are often forced to fill in gaps and rework parts of investigations to ensure asylum seekers receive all the legal guarantees to which they are entitled.
“It will also be better for us because we are dependent on the investigations that legal representatives are appointed to carry out. Inadequate representatives perform shabby investigations, which leads to more work for us,” said Ribbenvik.
The new procedures were developed in coordination with the Swedish Bar Association (Advokatsamfundet), the Swedish courts, the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre (Rådgivningsbyrån för asylsökande), and Swedish Refugee Aid.
Last year the Migration Board arranged lawyers for a total of 30,000 asylum cases.