Situation for stateless people in Sweden has gravely ‘worsened’

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Anna Lundberg, a professor at Linköping University, thinks that the situation for stateless people has gotten worse lately.

Anna Lundberg led a government inquiry on behalf of the government, which already in 2017 concluded that more asylum seekers who cannot be deported due to practical barriers should be allowed to stay in Sweden. It may be that no country can receive them because of statelessness.

But Anna Lundberg has not seen any evidence that the Migration Agency’s assessments have become less restrictive after the investigation was handed over.

– It has become worse in recent years due to a tougher attitude in the community regarding refugee immigration. It affects individuals who have ended up in limbo outside society’s protection system.

One reason why the situation has worsened is, according to Anna Lundberg, a change in the law on the reception of asylum seekers from the summer of 2016. It meant that the compensation for asylum seekers may be withdrawn in connection with the entry into force of an expulsion decision. Those who have been denied are also not entitled to legal aid.

“Although the law allows for residence permits due to practical enforcement barriers, the Migration Board’s restrictive application is difficult to access since the authority’s decision to refuse a permit due to such barriers must not be appealed,” says Anna Lundberg.

Anna Lundberg believes that the Migration Board places too much focus on implementing the expulsion, instead of looking at the practical obstacles, for example, that the country in question refuses to accept the person.

– The Swedish Migration Agency can change its practice in these cases and actually grant residence permits, she says.

But Migration Board’s communications director Fredrik Bengtsson disagrees.

– I think we are right in our assessments. If you have not done everything to facilitate deportation, you should not get a residence permit either, he says.

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