Fewer foreigners deported from Sweden despite new law

TT/The Local
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Fewer foreigners deported from Sweden despite new law
Prosecutor Liselott Herschend said that courts and prosecutors may have taken some months to get to grips with the change to the law on deportation of those convicted of crimes. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The number of foreigners deported from Sweden fell in 2022, despite a new law coming into force empowering judges to deport foreigners found guilty of crimes.


Sweden's rules on the circumstances in which courts can order criminals to be deported changed on August 1st 2022 to both lower the seriousness of the crime which could lead to deportation and to remove protections from some classes of foreigners.

The government predicted that this would increase the number of deportations ordered by courts by as much as 30 percent. 

But according to a story in the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper, the number of deportation orders made by courts actually fell from 452 in 2021 to just 407 in 2022, despite the new law coming into force. 

Liselott Herschend, a prosecutor specialised in deportation law working at Sweden's Prosecution Development Centre, told The Local that it was too early to conclude that the relaxation of the law was not having an effect, as the fall most probably reflected a delay in implementation of the law during the last four months of 2022. 


"The new legislation only applies to crimes committed after August 1st, 2022, and if you look at convictions from high court, most of the judgements in the autumn and winter of 2022 will be for crimes committed before that date," she said. 

Under the new rules, foreign citizens can be given a deportation order if they are found guilty of a crime with a possible jail sentence of six months, compared to 12 months previously. 

The new rules also make it easier to deport criminals who came to Sweden as children. 

"If you came to Sweden before you turned 15 and you have lived in Sweden for at least five years, then it was not possible to deport you. It was an absolute obstacle. And now they've changed that," Herschend explained. "So if the crime you commit has a sentence equivalent to at least two years in prison, or you have been convicted several times before, then you can be deported." 

Herschend said that there was currently a trial ongoing in Sweden's Supreme Court over a case of someone who arrived in Sweden as a child. 

"The Swedish legislation that has changed, so you can be deported, but you also have to think about the international conventions that we have agreed on, for example, the European Convention on Human Rights. And we have legislation at a European level for EU citizens, for example. And Sweden cannot change those rules by ourselves." 


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