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IMMIGRATION

Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests

Sweden is to carry out controversial age tests on as many as 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children, estimating that as many as 70 percent lie about their age.

Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Migration minister Morgan Johansson: Photo: Christine Olsson / TT
“This is not just about asylum procedure, it’s about the safety of the accommodation,“  Sweden’s Justice and Migration minister Morgan Johansson told Swedish Radio. “Adults should live with adults and children should live with children, which is why this should be done as early as possible in the procedure.” 
 
According to the Swedish Migration Agency, more than 18,000 of the young men and women might warrant medical age tests this year and next year. 
 
Sweden’s migration law gives strong incentives for asylum seekers aged 18 or over to claim to be minors, and the Agency believes there is reason to doubt the claims of as many as 70 percent of asylum applicants who say they are between the ages of 15 and 17. 
 
The tests are controversial in Sweden, however, with doctors arguing that there is as yet no method of reliably determining a person’s age. 
 
In April, the National Board of Health and Welfare judged that MRI scans of asylum seekers’ knees provided the most reliable currently available age tests.
 
At the end of last month, the government gave The National Board of Forensic Medicine responsibility for carrying out the new tests. It has now launched an inquiry into how best to carry them out, which is due to report in November. 
 
Ann Lemne, project manager at the organisation, underlined the shortcomings of existing methods in a press release sent out in May. 
 
“There is no method for medical age assessment can be safely determine an exact age,” she said. “With all methods, the result is produced as an age span.” 
 
For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question. 

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