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NEW LAWS: What changes about life in Sweden in May 2021

NEW LAWS: What changes about life in Sweden in May 2021
The Swedish government is planning to change some of the country's migration rules. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT
A couple of law changes and other things that are worth being aware of – here's what changes in Sweden this month.

Covid-19 vaccinations to open up to all adults in Sweden

Sweden’s vaccination order is split into four groups, and within those groups the vaccine is offered to the oldest people first. This order is subject to change, for example based on emerging research about the vaccines. Here’s the order as of April 28th:

Phase 1: People who live in care homes for the elderly; people who have at-home care, and people who live with them. People working in healthcare and care facilities who have close contact with people in the above risk groups.

Phase 2: People aged 65-69; people who are on dialysis or are recent transplant recipients and people who live with them; people who receive LSS assistance and are aged over 18.

Phase 3: People aged 60 to 64, and all adults aged 18-59 who either belong to a risk group for Covid-19 or would have particular difficulty following the public health advice (for example people with certain learning difficulties, or people living in socially vulnerable situations such as homeless people). This includes at-risk pregnancies.

Phase 4: Other adults aged 18-59, oldest first

Most regions in Sweden have completed Phase 1, and are either working on Phase 2 or Phase 3. Many regions have said they expect to start Phase 4 vaccinations at some point in May, although some aren’t planning to start until June. Here’s the latest timetable.

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See also on The Local:

Sweden’s new migration bill to be processed by parliament

The Swedish government submitted its new migration law proposal to parliament at the end of April.

The bill makes, for example, residence permits for refugees time-limited as a rule of thumb rather than permanent. Temporary residence permits have been the norm in Sweden since 2016, 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.

There is no exact timeframe for how long it will take parliament to go through the bill and put it to a vote, but if it is approved, the new laws are meant to come into force on July 20th, 2021, and replace the current and temporary legislation which was introduced in 2016 to bring down the unprecedented number of asylum requests at the time.

Inciting suicide becomes illegal

Encouraging someone to take their own life will become a criminal offence from May 1st. Anyone found guilty of inciting suicide (uppmaning till självmord) will risk being locked up for up to two years in jail.

Will Sweden start lifting coronavirus restrictions?

Sweden was originally set to lift restrictions on the number of people allowed at public events and gatherings, as well as opening time restrictions for restaurants, on May 3rd (after postponing it from April 11th), but this was again postponed later in April.

The Public Health Agency currently advises that the government may be able to start lifting them in mid-May, with the tentative date now set to May 17th, but it all depends on how fast the number of new infections decreases as more people get vaccinated.

Will it be possible to travel to Sweden from outside the EU?

Sweden’s entry ban for non-EU/EEA travellers is currently in place until May 31st. It has however been extended several times in the past year, after the EU first halted all non-essential travel to the bloc in March 2020 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Sweden has generally fallen in line with EU rules on the entry ban, so it can probably be expected (but not taken for granted) that it will in regards to eventually lifting the ban.

There is no timeline for that at the moment (unless you count the May 31st date, which as we’ve already mentioned could be postponed) and it could very well be lifted for certain countries before others, depending on the pandemic situation and vaccinations.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in April that she believes Americans who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the EU this summer. She did not spell out what kind of documentation they would need.


Member comments

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  1. I will never understand the logic of restricting hours. The less time people have for dinner, for example, the more crowded they will be.

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