The number of people seeking permanent residency in Sweden as relatives of immigrants already in the country will increase with 45 percent to 59,500 in 2012, a number comparable to 41,000 last year according to the latest predictions from Swedish Migration Board.
The main reason behind the expected increase is a recent verdict in the Migration Court of Appeal (Migrationsöverdomstolen) which is set to make it easier to seek a residence permit for people from countries where it is difficult to produce valid identification documents.
The larger part of the rise in applications is expected to come from Somalia.
Two years ago, two precendential verdicts from the court had demanded tighter controls on ID papers for those seeking residency permits on the grounds of having relatives in Sweden.
This hit Somali applicants the hardest as there are no official authorities in Somalia to issue the kind of identification papers which could be recognized by Swedish authorities.
But in January this year, the court loosened regulations. The verdict means that if someone can confirm consanguinity through DNA-testing, there is no need to affirm the applicants’ identity in any other way.
The Migration Board is therefore expecting a surge in applications from Somalia.
“Legally the verdict will increase the chances of close family members to be reunited,” said Jonas Lindgren of the agency to TT.
According to the Migration Board, there was already a large backlog of applicants who had been turned down when the court had asked for national ID papers. The rise is expected to come from Somali applicants.
“We have started to look at that group but the verdict will probably affect applicants from Afghanistan as well,” said Lindgren.
However, Lindgren is confident that the agency can cope with the rise in applications, with some help from the government.
“There is already long waiting times and there are many open cases that we are working on completing. We have therefore turned to the government and said that we are counting on needing an extra 100 million kronor ($15 million),” said Lindgren.