Sweden’s migration bill ready to be put to parliament after legal scrutiny

Sweden's migration bill ready to be put to parliament after legal scrutiny
The Swedish government (left) and parliament (right) buildings. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Plans to overhaul Sweden’s migration laws have taken a step further after a key committee cleared the way for the government’s bill to be put to parliament.

Sweden’s Council on Legislation (Lagrådet), the body that checks that draft bills are in line with the constitution before they are submitted to parliament for a vote, published its comments on the government’s new migration proposal on Tuesday afternoon.

The comments were published in a 17-page document, with suggestions for a few amendments to the bill, although they were mainly semantic in nature – for example changing certain words to make the exact meaning of the legal paragraphs clearer.

The Council on Legislation’s statements are advisory only, so it is up to the government to decide whether or not to take them into account. But this means that the only step left for the government now is to send the bill to parliament, either in its current or a new, amended form.

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Swedish news agency TT writes that the bill was supposed to have been submitted to parliament two weeks ago, but the date has been postponed until early May.

If the government manages to get majority support for its proposals, they are meant to come into force on July 20th, 2021, and replace temporary legislation which was introduced in 2016 to bring down the unprecedented number of asylum requests at the time.

Asylum applications have dropped from around 163,000 in 2015 to 22,000 in 2019 and 13,000 last year, but the government has said it does not want a return to those record numbers of people. In 2014, 81,000 people sought asylum in Sweden, 54,000 in 2013 and 44,000 in 2012.

The bill makes, for example, residence permits for refugees time-limited as a rule of thumb rather than permanent. Since the temporary law was introduced temporary permits have been the norm in Sweden, but before that permanent permits were the default since 1984.

It also brings in exceptions from family maintenance requirements for Swedish and EU/EEA citizens who wish to bring their partner to Sweden, and makes it easier for people living in Sweden on temporary residence permits to have family members move to join them.

The Local explains the main proposed changes that affect foreigners HERE.


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