“It pains me to report that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today,” said Prime Minister Stephan Löfven (S) who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Green Party spokesperson Åsa Romson.

In what is being called a complete reversal of Sweden’s open door policy, yesterday’s announcement comes only two weeks after the implementation of border control. Löfven was very clear that the measures being announced on Tuesday were being put in place to reduce the stream of refugees so that Sweden has some “respite”. He pointed out that the Nordic nation has received 80,000 asylum seekers in the last two months.


“We simply can not do any more,” said the Prime Minister.

Over the weekend, refugees arriving in Malmö were forced to sleep on the street because accommodations could not be found. There is not only a lack of accommodation, but a serious lack of resources for municipal social services such as education, health care and assistance. Several municipalities have announced that they can no longer accept unaccompanied children, reports SVT.

The Prime Minister directed harsh criticism toward other EU countries whom he says have not taken their share of the responsibility in the refugee crisis. By changing the current immigration policy to EU minimum levels, “more asylum seekers will have to seek and obtain protection in other EU countries,” said Löfven.

The announcement seemed particularly difficult for the Green’s deputy prime minister, Åsa Roman, who broke down into tears. She described the changes as drastic and draconian but necessary when 80,000 asylum seekers had arrived in the last two months.

“We must give the reception system a respite,” she said. “The way to do that is not beautiful. It is extremely cruel.”


Some of the changes to be put in place are:

Swedish Aliens Act will be temporarily (valid for three years) adapted to minimum requirements under international and EU law. The quota is usually less than a few thousand per year.

Only temporary resident permits will be provided to asylum seekers. This does not apply to quota refugees who will continue to receive permanent residence. Exceptions will be made for children and families who registered before the new rules were announced.

Temporary residence permits shall be valid for three years for refugees and one year for subsidiary protection.

Family reunification will be restricted.

Medical age assessment is reinstated.

ID checks will be enforced on all modes of public transportation coming into Sweden.

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Reactions on social media were immediate and often divided. According to Göteborgs Posten, Löfven was barely finished with his list of actions before the KDU chairman, Sara Skyttedal posted on Twitter, “Wow. They’re doing everything we require.”

Left Party leader, Jonas Sjöstedt, said, “Sweden was a light in the darkness for many who were forced to flee. Now it turns off the light. People on the run will be hard hit.”

“I am worried it is not enough,” said Anna Kinberg Batra, leader of the Moderates. She nonetheless welcomes the changes.

The Prime Minister has informed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussem and the European Council President Donald Tusk of the new polices.