Sweden clamps down on asylum seekers
Sweden toughened its rules for new asylum seekers on Tuesday as well as for refugees wanting to join their families in the country, after receiving 160,000 asylum claims last year.
Stockholm: Sweden toughened its rules for new asylum seekers on Tuesday as well as for refugees wanting to join their families in the country, after receiving 160,000 asylum claims last year.
The Swedish parliament voted 240 to 45 for the bill that will suspend for three years the granting of temporary residence permits to asylum seekers as well as limiting the number of refugees who will be permitted to join family members already settled in the country.
The law will come into force on July 20 and will apply to all applications registered after November 24.
Under current rules, asylum seekers who receive residency permits valid for three years can go on to apply for permanent residency if they have found a job that covers their basic needs.
Asylum seekers who have protected status will be allowed to remain for 13 months under the new policy, while refugees admitted under UN refugee agency quotas will be unaffected by the changes.
"(These measures) are designed to greatly reduce the number of asylum seekers while improving the welcome and settlement" for migrants in Sweden, the proposals state.
Both parties in the governing minority coalition -- the Social Democrats and Green party -- supported the bill, but the Centre and Left parties voted against the measures.
The Liberals and Christian Democrats abstained from the vote.
The country already tightened its asylum rules in 2015 with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announcing a slew of measures to deter migrants from travelling to Sweden just weeks after telling a "Refugees Welcome" rally in Stockholm that his "Europe does not build walls."
Stockholm controversially reinstated random checks on its border with Denmark, a route used by most of those refugees seeking to reach Sweden. The country has received 245,000 migrants since 2014 -- mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.