The 26-year-old man set himself alight on Friday afternoon in a Migration Board (Migrationsverket) detention centre in Alvesta in central Sweden.
His life is now in the balance as a result of his injuries.
The man had finished talking with his administrator at around midday when he walked passed the reception and into a toilet, locking the door.
“After a while a bang was heard and the man came out of the toilet like a walking torch,” said Fredrik Svärd at Kronobergs police to news agency TT.
Staff at the centre managed to extinguish the fire, but the man had already sustained serious injuries.
Police were unable to confirm on Friday the nature of the inflammable liquid that the man had used.
The 26-year-old was rushed to Växjö hospital and was later transferred to the burns unit at Linköping University Hospital.