Those of you who have fled from Ukraine and applied to the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA) in Sweden can now receive ”temporary protection” according to the EU’s temporary protection directive (TPD). This article is about what it means and what rights you have when you have received such protection.
Temporary protection in a mass exodus situation only occurs if the EU (European Union) has decided that everyone who has fled a certain area should receive temporary protection regardless of where they are in the European Union. The rules are found in the EU Refugee Directive (Council Directive on minimum standards for providing temporary protection in the event of a massive influx of displaced persons). The rules are also enshrined in the Swedish Aliens Act. At the time of writing, the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD)only applies to citizens of Ukraine and to persons who have resided there with protection status and to their families. If you belong to one of these groups and entered Sweden no earlier than 30 October 2021, you have the right to obtain a temporary residence permit in Sweden regardless of your individual reasons.
In the law, protection under the TPD is called ”temporary protection”. Despite the name, it does not count as ”asylum”, namely a protection status that gives special rights. In order to obtain asylum with refugee status or subsidiary protection status, an individual examination is required. (See below).
You can be denied temporary protection if you have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other serious crimes or if you are considered a security risk for Sweden.
All residence permits issued under the TPD are valid until 4 March 2023. If the EU does not decide to revoke the protection, it will be automatically extended by six months at a time for a maximum of one year. Another one-year extension is possible under the directive, but it requires a new decision from the EU.
ENTRY AND REGISTRATION
You who are Ukraine nationals do not need a visa to travel into Sweden or another EU country. You can be in Sweden for up to 90 days without any special reason. Before that time ends, you need to register your application for protection with the Swedish Migration Agency.
If you do not have any ID documents, you cannot show that you have the right to be in Sweden. Therefore, you should contact the border police or contact the Swedish Migration Agency as soon as you enter and tell them that you are seeking protection. Once you have done so, you may not be deported without your right to a residence permit having been examined.
Registration of the application for protection must usually be made in person at the Swedish Migration Agency. The SMA has now introduced a temporary option for citizens of Ukraine who have valid ID documents to register the application via the internet. The SMA’s website contains information about the Internet application and about the places where the application can be made in person.
The registration data includes your name, date of birth, citizenship and language.
In connection with your application being registered or soon after, you will be required to be fingerprinted and photographed. The SMA also decides whether you are entitled to an allowance which you can receive if you do not have money of your own. Children under the age of 14 do not have to be fingerprinted. You will also be asked about your health and if you want to have a voluntary health check.
The Swedish Migration Agency will ask you to show your passport and other ID documents, such as ID card, driving license, military book, military card or birth certificate. If you do not have ID documents and you cannot show that you come from Ukraine, other questions may also be asked to prepare for such an asylum procedure that asylum seekers from other countries need to go through. For example, you could be asked to do a language analysis test to find out where you come from.
Asylum seekers receive a card called an LMA card with their personal information. LMA is an abbreviation of the Act on the Reception of Asylum Seekers. If you come from Ukraine and entered Sweden no earlier than 30 October 2021 and have a passport or other ID document showing who you are, you can get a quick decision on temporary protection shortly after registration. Instead of an LMA card, you will then receive a residence permit card stating that you have a permit to be in Sweden and that you have the right to work.
If you are under 18 and come to Sweden on your own, without your parents or someone else who is responsible for you, you will be placed in a family home or sheltered youth housing. After a while, you will also have a guardian, an adult who will help you in contacts with the Swedish Migration Agency, with your finances and other things.
YOUR RIGHTS WHEN GRANTED TEMPORARY PROTECTION IN SWEDEN
It is the Act on the Reception of Asylum Seekers etc. (1994: 137) that covers what rights you have if you have received temporary protection according to the EU’S Temporary Protection Directive.
Adults with temporary protection are only entitled to:
● emergency medical care
● emergency dental care
● maternity care
● pregnancy care
● birth control advice
● care in the event of an abortion
● care and measures in accordance with the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act
● care that cannot be delayed (that cannot wait)
The fact that care cannot be delayed means that the condition could be life-threatening or have other serious consequences if the patient does not receive care quickly. Which care that cannot be postponed is determined by the responsible professional (it can be a doctor or a nurse or someone else who works in healthcare).
You show that you are entitled to medical care by presenting your residence permit card. At each doctor’s visit, you have to pay a patient fee of SEK 50. You must also pay SEK 50 for the medicine the doctor prescribes on each occasion (the figures apply for 2022). The rest is paid by the Swedish Migration Agency. If you need care often, it is possible to apply for extra grants from the Swedish Migration Agency. It is not impossible that you can receive treatment in addition to immediate care and care that cannot be delayed, but then you may have to pay the full cost yourself.
Children and healthcare
Children with temporary protection are in principle entitled to receive all the medical care and dental care they need, on the same terms as other children living in Sweden. This means that healthcare is free in many parts of the country, but in other places you may have to pay a certain patient fee for children as well.
Dental care is always free for children. Longer treatments can sometimes be refused by the health service, as the child seeking asylum may not be able to complete the treatment, but risks being harmed by it if the child does not stay in the country throughout the treatment period.
In some cases, parents can also receive treatment, for example in a group home for families, if it is considered necessary for a child to recover.
Children must also present a residence permit card.
Children with temporary protection according to the TPD have the right to childcare, preschool and school just as other children in Sweden. It is a right for the child to go to school. On the other hand, there is no compulsory schooling (ie the child must go to school) as it is for most other children in Sweden. The municipality is obliged to arrange a school place within a month. It is common for the school to let children go to a preparatory class, where they can receive extra Swedish lessons during the initial period.
Children of upper secondary school age with temporary protection can go to upper secondary school. If you have not reached the age of 18 you have the right to apply to upper secondary school, and if you have started an introductory programme or a national programme, you have the right to complete the programme. In some places, studies or other employment are also arranged for adults, usually by voluntary organisations. Adults who have received other types of residence permits after having been asylum seekers have the right to take courses in Swedish that the municipality arranges. The courses are called ”Swedish for immigrants” and are abbreviated SFI. It may be that even people with temporary protection are able to participate in SFI courses. Ask the municipality where you live.
Those who have temporary protection are entitled to a daily allowance if you do not have money with you or can support yourself in another way. The daily allowance is low and intended to cover the most important needs.
According to the LMA Act, the daily allowance must be deducted if you leave Sweden while you have temporary protection. If you return, you are still entitled to protection, but you cannot get your daily allowance back. At the time of writing, this rule is being discussed and may change. Find out what applies before you travel from Sweden.
On the Swedish Migration Agency’s website there is information about daily allowances: https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Protection-under-the-Temporary-Protection-Directive/After-the-decision-has-been-made.html
You have the right to live free of charge in a reception unit, so-called accommodation centre (ABO). Even if it is called residential accommodation, it can mean that you are provided with an apartment in a normal residential area or share such an apartment with other asylum seekers. You can also arrange housing yourself, for example with relatives, in so-called own-accommodation (EBO).
If you live in a facility, the Swedish Migration Agency pays the rent, but if you choose EBO, you will not receive any help with the rental cost, other than in connection with your moving to another place where you have been employed. Many still choose to live in their own accommodation. If you start living like this and for some reason want to stop, you can turn to the SMA to get a place at one of their facilities.
You can also move from the SMA’s accommodation to your own place while you have temporary protection, but you must arrange the accommodation yourself.
If you in the meantime leave Sweden with temporary protection, you may lose the right to housing through the Swedish Migration Agency. (See above under daily allowance).
In many cities, there are a number of residential areas where the authorities want to prevent more asylum seekers from settling, because they are considered to have become too segregated and many live in crowded accommodation. If you choose to settle in one of these areas, you will not receive any daily allowance at all.
Check on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website if the address you intend to live at is in a ”permitted” area: https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Protection-under-the-Temporary-Protection-Directive/After-the-decision-has-been-made.html
Be aware of the risk of human trafficking!
Children without guardians
If you are under the age of 18 and come to Sweden alone, without a parent or guardian, different rules apply than for adults. If you live with a relative or friend who wants to take responsibility for you, you may have to stay there. But the social services authority in the municipality where you live will check to see how you are doing. This is done so that children are not exploited or endangered. If you cannot live with relatives, you must get a place in a municipality that arranges accommodation for you. It can be in a home for young people or in a family. Many municipalities place younger children without guardians in families or sheltered youth homes with staff but arrange simpler supported housing for older children where they can manage more by then.
Children without guardians who are placed in a municipality have the same rights as all other children staying in the municipality. This is stated in the Social Services Act (Act 2001: 453).
When you turn 18, the municipality is no longer responsible for you and you are not entitled to a guardian. You will be offered to move to an adult residence. In the worst case, you could end up far from school. If you would rather find your own accommodation, you can do so, but then you will unfortunately not receive support for the rent. In some places, the municipality or voluntary organisations help to provide housing. Find out what applies in your municipality. If you are moving, ask your teacher for a certificate of your knowledge and take it with you to the school in the new location. You have the right to complete the programme you started in, or the equivalent.
To apply for protection status
If you have been granted a residence permit with temporary protection but believe that you have grounds for asylum, you can apply for a declaration of protection status, in order to obtain refugee status or subsidiary protection. In such a case, it becomes important to show that there is a great risk that you will be badly treated in your home country. Everything that concerns your vulnerability depending on who you are, who threatened you, which group you belong to and so on will be important to include in your application.
You can apply for a protection status declaration at any time during the period of your permit in Sweden. Your reasons will be investigated by the Swedish Migration Agency in much the same way as for other groups seeking asylum. If you are rejected, you can appeal. You do not have an automatic right to public counsel (a lawyer to help you), but you can apply for it and you have the right to hire your own representative if you have the possibility.
The outcome of your application for a declaration of protection status may be that you receive refugee status or subsidiary protection status. Such a status means, among other things, that you can be registered in Sweden with more social rights and the opportunity later to apply for a permanent residence permit. If your application is rejected by both the Swedish Migration Agency and the Migration courts on your application for protection status, you have the right to retain your residence permit with temporary protection as long as the EU Temporary Protection Directive applies
Read more in FARR’s Good Advice for those seeking asylum in Sweden.
Protection in another EU country
Sweden can request that you be transferred to another country in the EU if the EU countries agree that a redistribution is needed. But you cannot be transferred without your consent. You also have the opportunity to travel on to another EU country and apply for temporary protection there. According to the TPD, you could be sent back to the country where you have already received protection, but the EU countries have decided not to apply that rule. This can be changed, so check what applies before you decide to travel further.
When temporary protection ends
All residence permits under the TPD apply until 4 March 2023. If the EU does not decide to discontinue protection, it will be automatically extended by six months at a time for a maximum of one year. Another one-year extension is possible under the directive, but it requires a new decision from the EU.
At the time of writing, we do not know how long the conditions of temporary protection under the TPD will last. The residence permit due to a mass exodus situation applies for the time decided by the EU and cannot be extended beyond that. When this time is over, it may be that Sweden arranges a programme for those concerned that provides additional time with a residence permit to prepare for return. Sweden may also allow an extension of stay to the end of the school term or academic year.
When the permit expires, you are obliged to leave Sweden if there is no other reason that entitles you to stay.
If you are applying for asylum and have not had your grounds for asylum assessed in substance before, you have the right to remain in Sweden while the application is being examined. If you apply for a residence permit on any other basis, such as family ties, work or studies, the application must normally be submitted from the home country. There may be special reasons for applying from Sweden such as if you have a particularly strong connection or a child would be harmed by being separated from you. At the time of writing, we do not know how such exceptions will be assessed for persons who have had temporary protection.
Should you remain in Sweden as undocumented (without a permit), it will be an illegal stay with few rights. Read more in FARR’s Good Advice for those seeking asylum in Sweden
MORE INFORMATION FOR ASYLUM APPLICANTS:
The Swedish Refugee Law Centre: Питання та відповіді щодо статусу українців у Швеції
LINKS TO LAWS AND GUIDELINES:
EU decision of 4 March 2022 to apply the Temporary Protection Directive
The following links to acts and guidelines are all in Swedish
Chapter 21 of the Aliens Act on temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive Act on the reception of asylum seekers and others (LMA)
See paragraph 1, first paragraph, paragraph 2 et seq. Restrictions: Paragraph 3a, paragraph 3, paragraph 10a, paragraph 3, paragraph 11 a, paragraph 1, paragraph 2.
Act on health and medical care for asylum seekers and others
See paragraph 4, first paragraph, paragraph 2, and the following paragraphs.