Immigration: Sweden rolls back strict rules on family reunification

Immigration: Sweden rolls back strict rules on family reunification
The right to family reunification was significantly restricted after the 2015 refugee crisis. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT
The Swedish parliament has voted in favour of a law change that will make it slightly easier for migrants to bring their families to Sweden.

The right to family reunification was restricted when Sweden's centre-left Social Democrat-Green coalition government introduced temporary new migration laws on the back of the refugee crisis of 2015, a year which saw an unprecedented 163,000 people apply for asylum in the country.

The new laws also made temporary residence permits the norm rather than permanent ones.

Originally intended as a temporary measure to ease the pressure on Swedish migration and local authorities by the high influx of asylum applications, the laws were set to expire this summer.

But parliament voted on Tuesday to extend the laws to July 19th 2021, with the exception of lifting certain restrictions to the right to family reunification – restrictions previously criticized by human rights leaders.

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The law change will now make it easier for people who do not necessarily have refugee status, but are still considered to require protection and are in line for a permanent residence permit, will be allowed to bring their husband, wife, cohabiting partner or registered partner, and underage children to Sweden.

If the primary applicant is under the age of 18, their parents are counted as members of their family.

The Swedish Migration Agency estimates that around 8,000 relatives of migrants eligible for such subsidiary protection status will come to Sweden in 2019-2021, but each case will be tried individually.

Swedish news agency TT reports that the new rules will mainly affect Syrian immigrants.

Tuesday's vote was a result of January's four-party deal between the Social Democrat, Green, Centre and Liberal parties, and was voted through parliament with the support of the Christian Democrats.


The conservative Moderates and Sweden Democrats voted against easing the tough restrictions on family reunification. The Left Party was the only party to reject extending the rules on temporary residence permit, arguing that Sweden should bring back its pre-2015 asylum laws.

The law changes come into force on July 20th.

Member comments

  1. Has this new law something about new offered changes in criteria for citizenship, language and social exam introduction, as well?

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