The right to a fair asylum process

Your rights

  • You have the right to seek asylum.
  • You have the right to asylum if you have valid grounds for asylum.
  • You have the right to choose gender of your interpreter, administrator and attorney/lawyer.
  • You have the right to your own meetings with your lawyer/attorney as well as with the Migration Board.

According to the Aliens Act (Utlänningslagen) a refugee is: “a person who feels well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, nationality, political or religious beliefs or because of their gender, sexual orientation or membership of a particular social group, and can not, or because of their fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of his/her homeland protection. As a refugee is also considered an stateless alien with the same reasons as above being outside the country in which he or she previously had habitual residence and who can not, or because of their fear, is unwilling to return. ”

In practice, the law is very badly followed. This is because the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has a very poor knowledge of the rules, and because of prejudices and poor understanding of how different forms of discrimination and violence interact. There is also sometimes a reluctance and/or lack of time to familiarize with your special refugee reasons as a woman and/or LGBTQ-person.

To get asylum, the Migration Board requires that you can prove that you have been exposed to persecutions and/or violence, and that you can prove that you are at risk to be exposed to those again if you return. But even people with strong evidence may still often be denied asylum.

To seek asylum again after being denied:

4 years after your application for asylum has been rejected, you can apply for asylum again and the Migration Board will start a new asylum process. However, the first application may affect your new asylum application because the Migration Board will wonder if you are still seeking asylum with the same reasons or if it is based on new grounds. In practice it is often the case that the Migration Board reviews the old reasons and the new asylum application consists of the old and new reasons together.

For you who live as undocumented and has never been in contact with the Migration Board:

If you have never applied for asylum but are in need protection, you always have the right to have your asylum claim examined in Sweden. It’s the same for you as for those who come to Sweden and directly seek asylum. If you have had a residence permit (for example, a work or tourist visa) and received deportation orders and then lived as undocumented the process is a little different to get into the asylum process. Call Rådgivningsbyrån (asylum advice center) 0200-88 00 66 (free of charge) to find out more.

Remember:

  • Risk of persecution because you are a woman and/or LGBTQ-person can give you a refugee status. Remember that harassment can be done by both the state (such as police, military or authorities) and/or by your spouse/partner, family, or other individuals.
  • If you are persecuted, by the state or individuals, because you are gay/lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you are entitled to asylum.
  • Persecution because of political opinion can cause you to get refugee status. Politics is not only about party political activity. It also includes having opinions on, and possibly violate and defy the state’s, society’s or family’s views on sex and sexuality.
  • Try to tell as much details as possible, as early in the process as possible, to your attorney/lawyer and the Migration Board about your situation and problems in your home country. Even about painful experiences and fears of violence, death threats and abuse of police or your spouse/partner, or your family.
  • Try to obtain evidence that can prove your fear, eg certificate from your home country, threatening letters, medical certificate, witnesses, photographs, etc.
  • Always tell your lawyer/attorney and the Migration Board if your circumstances change, about new things that happen in your life that makes your fear of deportation increase.
  • Make sure you have copies of all documents relating to your asylum process.
  • If you come to Sweden because of the connection to a Swedish husband/partner but the relationship has ended, there is a small possibility of continued residence. If you have had time to get special connection to Sweden, if the relationship ended because of you or your children have been victims of violence or if there are other compelling reasons, you can get further residence. This also applies to men living with men and women living with women.

Free advice, support and information on asylum issues:

  • Rådgivningsbyrån (asylum advice center) 0200-88 00 66 (free of charge)
  • Amnesty International 08-729 02 00
  • FARR – refugee groups and asylum committee councilors 023-132 45