Sweden has a long history of being both a source and destination country for people seeking a better life and future. Although the background and motivations for migrants coming to Sweden has changed over time, in the 20th century asylum applications first peaked in 1992 as a result of the Balkan War. Sweden has become well-known for its generous policies towards asylum seekers and refugees which has thereby made Sweden a popular destination country during the 2015 Refugee Crisis. For instance by the end of 2015, there was a total culmination of 162,877 people who had sought asylum in Sweden.  

 This large influx of asylum seekers and refugees coming to Sweden in 2015 as a result shifted Sweden’s attitude, which can be observed in the Temporary Law (2016:73) which greatly restricted Sweden’s immigration policies. Although Sweden has changed their stance in regards to refugee and asylum acceptance to be more restrictive, the country still has accepted the most refugees per capita when compared to other EU member states.

 The following graphs are meant to give visual insights to the current migration situation in Sweden. For instance, from Figure 1 we see that in 2015, the year of the so-called Refugee Crisis, levels of asylum applications increased substantially.

Figure 1. Number of Asylum Applications in Sweden 2011-2017. Source: Migrationsverket.

Figure 1. Number of Asylum Applications in Sweden 2011-2017. Source: Migrationsverket.

In Sweden as well as across the EU, asylum applications reached their peaks in 2015 and 2016, most of which were refugees fleeing from war in Syria. In 2017, the four main citizenships of non-EU first time asylum applicants in Sweden were Syrian, Eritrean, Iraqi, and Afghani. In terms of positive decisions taken by administrative or judicial bodies, Sweden was second in a study done by RESPOND having given 18,920 positive responses behind only Germany.

As indicated in Figure 2, in 2017 when the Temporary Law (2016:73) was implemented, granted asylum applications radically started to decrease. Although Sweden has historically had the reputation within the global community of having open immigration policies, it is clear through these graphs, recent laws, as well as the parliamentary election results for the far-right Swedish Democrats that Sweden is becoming increasingly reserved in their immigration policies.

Figure 2. Number of Granted Applications for Asylum in Sweden 2011-2018. Source: Migrationsverket.

Figure 2. Number of Granted Applications for Asylum in Sweden 2011-2018. Source: Migrationsverket.

Here in this site you will find all reports, blog posts and articles written about Sweden by the RESPOND project team members. The country reports include the following reports:

1)      “Legal and policy framework of migration governance in Sweden”;

2)      “Border management and migration control policies of Sweden”;

3)      “Protection regimes in Sweden”

4)      “Reception policies, practices and responses”

5)      “Integration policies, practices and responses in Sweden”

6)      “Conflicting Europeanization” – Country report of Sweden

7)      Survey related – country report

 All reports are expected to be finalised before summer 2020.

 Recommended references

Crouch, D. (2016, January 28). Sweden sends sharp signal with plan to expel up to 80,000 asylum seekers. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/28/sweden-to-expel-up-to-80000-rejected-asylum-seekers

Drevinger, J. (2016, October 22). Rekordfå svenskar positiva till mångfald: “Mörka siffror.” Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved from https://www.svd.se/rekordfa-svenskar-positiva-till-kulturell-mangfald-morka-siffror

Political parties in Sweden. (2018, September 21). Retrieved February 17, 2019, from https://sweden.se/society/political-parties-in-sweden/

Roden, L. (2017, April 27). How Sweden’s asylum approval rate compares to other EU countries. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from https://www.thelocal.se/20170427/how-swedens-asylum-approval-rate-compares-to-other-eu-countries

Shakra, M., Wirman, J., Szalanska, J., & Cetrez, Ö. (2018). Legal and Policy Framework of Migration Governance: Sweden Country Report, 74. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1418587.