Migration Board sets new principle in Congo ruling

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has established a new guiding principle in an asylum case involving a woman from DR Congo. The Board approved the woman's application for permanent residency despite lacking the normal grounds required for protection.

The woman is from the province of North Kivu in eastern DR Congo. Since fighting broke out in August some 220,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. The area has been classified as an internal conflict, a definition that does not apply to the remainder of the country.

The board ruled in the case that the woman lacks the possibility to create a secure life for herself in another part of the country.

“With the situation that exists in DR Congo today it is not reasonable to expect that a single woman without a social network is able to survive alone as an internal refugee,” said the board’s Mikael Ribbenvik to Sveriges Television (SVT).

The board’s ruling could be applied to other cases involving violent internal conflicts.

“This means that we will make the same decision in regard to other countries where a similar situation exists, ” said Mikael Ribbenvik and named Afghanistan and Iraq as examples.


Migration Board worker took bribes for passports

A court in Malmö has jailed a former Migration Board worker and his accomplice for taking bribes in exchange for residence permits and passports for asylum seekers desperate to stay in Sweden.

Migration Board worker took bribes for passports
The Swedish Migration Board's offices in Malmö. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

In a bribery case that first came to light in the summer of 2012, three men were charged with selling Swedish residence permits, forged Bulgarian passports and other identity documents to refugees seeking shelter in Sweden. 

The court gave one of the suspects a three-year prison sentence for taking bribes and helping to forge documents. 

The 53-year-old ex-case officer earned 450,000 kronor ($54,000) from taking bribes in seven separate cases, the court said. 

A 56-year-old accomplice was jailed for a year and a half for forging passports and other forms of identification. 

A second Migration Board case officer, a 47-year-old man, was cleared of the charges against him. 

Investigators found that the asylum seekers, who hailed from Africa and the Middle East, were given forged Bulgarian passports which allowed them to remain in the European Union.

Some also paid the migration agency workers to obtain Swedish residency permits.

The false passports gave the asylum seekers the right to remain in Sweden based on the residency rights afforded all EU citizens.

Suspicions about the scheme emerged after an internal Migration Board investigation, prompting the agency to notify police.