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rutor 2018 februari
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HEMENGLISHFARR policy in EnglishUnaccompanied minors and age

Unaccompanied minors and age

Unaccompanied minors have previously enjoyed a fairly safe reception in Sweden, with access to education and care and permanent solutions to their protection needs. Today, however, unaccompanied minors face great insecurities in Sweden. On the day that they turn 18 they are expected to be able to return to their country of origin or their parents’ country of origin and to provide for themselves without any existing network in that country. They are no longer considered to be at risk of being abused or recruited to armed factions. Meanwhile, they are forced to leave a life behind in Sweden that they have built for themselves during some of the most formative years of their lives.

An even greater issue in relation to minors is the use of faulty age assessments. For a period of time, minors had their age determined to be over 18 without any empirical data supporting the decision. Thereafter, the use of MRI scans was introduced as part of a medical age assessment. The method has a wide margin of error and has been condemned by medical experts but is still used and given disproportionate weight compared to other parts of the age assessment to determine an applicant’s age. The Migration Agency is basically working under the presumption that whoever needs an age assessment should be presumed to be over the age of 18.

On the day of the decision that the applicant is to be determined as an adult, the applicant loses his or her right to a legal guardian, their place in the youth housing facility and may even be forced to quit school despite their right to stay during the appeal of the decision.

A residence permit for applicants who want to acquire a r high school diploma in Sweden has been introduced as a compensation to those faced with this situation. Meanwhile, contradictory rules in the relevant laws make it difficult for many to be accepted into a high school or to acquire housing. Those who succeed still lack crucial rights, such as the right to health care. The right to remain in Sweden expires once the applicant graduates from high school, provided that they have not been able to find a permanent job within six months from graduation from school. Considering the tough competition on the Swedish labor market, it is not realistic to assume that the applicants will find a permanent job within six months from their graduation, thus leaving the vast majority facing deportation orders in the future.

At least 1000 of the unaccompanied minors who have had their asylum applications rejected in Sweden have left for France in search for protection. Some have received a residence permit there while others are living as undocumented migrants. Amongst those who have not left for France, many are living as undocumented migrants in Sweden instead. It is so sad that Sweden actually turns unaccompanied minors into undocumented young adults.




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