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Sweden: the Council of Churches says no to the law limiting residence permit and family reunification to asylum-seekers

Today, the presidential office of the Swedish Council of Churches wrote a letter to MPs just a few days before the vote of 18 June, on the possible extension of the 2016 Law limiting opportunities to obtain residence in Sweden or family reunification for asylum-seekers. In the letter, the members of the Riksdag are asked to vote against the extension of the law; it is said: “The restriction law was passed in 2016, at a time when the manifest intention of the government was to reduce the number of asylum-seekers arriving in Sweden. Undoubtedly, that number decreased, but the connection between the passing of the law and the abruptly decreasing number of asylum-seekers is not clear”. That would probably depend on other factors, such as the closure of the Western Balkans route or the EU-Turkey agreement. According to Church leaders, the law in question has had “many more negative consequences” on the possibilities of “good integration”: replacement of permanent residency permits with “expiring” permits; strict limits to family reunifications; reducing the rights of asylum-seekers to social or financial aid. Therefore, the Churches say no to the extension of the law, in favour of return to the ordinary law, in order to work for a future legislation in the years to come.

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