Resettlement to Sweden

Resettlement to Sweden

For more detailed information on resettlement to Sweden, a full country profile can be viewed here at Know Reset.

Sweden has a resettlement quota for refugees. The Swedish Migration Board is responsible for the selection and transfer of quota refugees to Sweden. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) handles practical matters such as transportation and transit assistance.

Selections are made, in principle, on the basis of investigations carried out by the Migration Board itself (selection by delegation). If this is not possible, selections might be made on the basis of the findings of a Swedish authority abroad, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or other suitable organisations (dossier selection).

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for resettlement in Sweden, the person must belong to one of these categories as defined by the 1989 Aliens Act:

  • have a well founded fear of persecution within the meaning of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (hereafter '1951 Convention'); or

  • be in need of protection because:

1- they risk execution, corporal punishment, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment;

2- they are escaping armed conflict or environmental disaster; or

3- they risk persecution due to gender-related reasons or on grounds of homosexuality.

  • persons who have not yet crossed the boundary of their country of nationality, thus not refugees in a formal sense (exceptional).

Family reunification cases are treated within the resettlement quota. Close family members can be included if they arrive at the same time or shortly after the person in need of protection.

Selection on medical grounds: is exceptional but not completely banned. Illness is not in itself considered an obstacle to the selection of persons to be resettled in Sweden. For the person to be selected on medical grounds, proper forms of treatment must be available in Sweden.

Admissibility for Resettlement

Refugees might be denied resettlement in Sweden for reasons of:

  • exclusion: persons excluded under the exclusion clauses of the 1951 Convention are denied resettlement in Sweden;

  • criminality, alcohol and drug consuming illnesses and reasons relating to public order;

  • minor children without custodians if they do not have relatives in Sweden who are willing to receive the child and this otherwise correspond with the best interests of the child.

Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees

With regard to the rules of family reunification, the Swedish law does not make a difference between refugees in the sense of the 1951 Convention and other aliens residing in Sweden. Relatives to refugees under the 1951 Convention who have been granted residence permit can be granted costs for the travel to Sweden under certain circumstances.

Residence permits may be considered for:

  • aliens married to or cohabiting with a person domiciled in Sweden or who is a holder of a Swedish residence permit;

  • any children of a parent living in Sweden or holding a Swedish residence permit provided that they are under 18, are unmarried, and have been living in their parent's home.

  • relatives outside the immediate circle of the nuclear family may be awarded residence permits only if they were members of the same household community as their kin in Sweden while in their country of habitual residence. They must also be able to demonstrate some form of mutual dependence making it difficult for them to live apart.

The Migration Board reviews applications and accompanying reports made and submitted by the Swedish embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s country of origin or habitual residence. Relatives already settled in Sweden may also submit reunification applications directly to the Migration Board if they can produce a power-of-attorney empowering them to act on behalf of the applicant. This second option is, however, not encouraged.

The Migration Board makes decisions on granting the residence permits and the travel allowances (if applicable) for the family members.


Sources: this information has been taken from official documents as well as the Sweden country chapter in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.