Swedish government announces next steps in overhaul of migration law

Swedish government announces next steps in overhaul of migration law
Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Amir Nabizadeh/TT
Sweden's government on Wednesday announced that the two coalition partners have agreed on what the next steps for a new Swedish migration policy will look like.

“The government's standing point is that people who move to Sweden and have the right to stay here should get all the help they need to become part of society, but that those who do not have the right to stay should return,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Green Party leader Isabella Lövin, who held a joint press conference with Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson.

The two explained that they had agreed to present a bill based on 26 proposals for a new Swedish migration policy – the first step to replacing the temporary laws introduced in 2016 in the wake of a mass influx of refugees.

The proposals were outlined in September by Sweden's Migration Committee, which included representatives from each parliamentary party as well as independent experts. But the parties could not reach an agreement, so the final report was made up of 26 proposals rather than a comprehensive policy, each one supported by several parties. 

The Social Democrats supported all 26 of the proposals, but their junior coalition partner the Green Party agreed with only three, leaving the future of the policy uncertain.

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For the proposals to become law, the Social Democrat-Green government would need to put together a bill, send it out for consultation, and it would then need to pass a parliamentary vote.

Now the governing parties have agreed to prepare a bill based on the 26 proposals, but along with some additional suggestions supported by the Green Party. But the final proposals could still change slightly before they are put to parliament, depending on the feedback from expert authorities during the consultation round.

One such addition is a proposed change to the so-called 'high school law' (gymnasielagen) which currently means that asylum seekers whose claims are unsuccessful may remain in Sweden to complete upper secondary school, but must leave the country if they do not find a job within six months of graduation. The proposed change would increase this time limit to a year.

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