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UPDATED: How many people in Sweden are at risk of losing permanent residency?

Sweden's migration minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said in an interview last week that the government only aimed to abolish asylum-related permanent residency. How many people could that affect?

UPDATED: How many people in Sweden are at risk of losing permanent residency?
Migration Agency offices in Sundbyberg. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

In the Tidö Agreement between the far-right Sweden Democrats and Sweden’s three governing parties it states that “the institution of permanent residence permits should be phased out”. 

A total of 296,981 people currently hold permanent residency (PUT) in Sweden, according to new figures provided to The Local by the Swedish Migration Agency.

So are they at risk? 

Not all of them, according to Migration Minister Malmer Stenergard, who told Swedish state broadcaster SR last week that only asylum-related permanent residencies would be affected by the changes. Permanent residency awarded to people who came to Sweden on a work permit will not be withdrawn and will continue to exist. 

READ ALSO: ‘Work permit holders will not lose permanent residency’: Swedish Migration Minister

So how many of the permanent residencies currently in existence are asylum-related? 

According to numbers provided to The Local by the Migration Agency only 69,022 of the permanent residencies currently in existence are directly asylum-related, while 16,520 are work-permit-related. 

Fully 132,105 of those granted permanent residency came through family reunification, 33,218 were classed as coming through skydd, the various forms of alternative protection, 11,065 were EU-related, and 33,457 were granted permanent residency for other reasons. 

Other reasons included categories such as tillfälligt besök (temporary visit), or uppehållstillstånd pga varaktigt bosatt i Sverige (residency as a result of long-term living in Sweden), as well as people whose reason for permanent residency had been wrongly entered into the database. 

The Local has contacted the Migration Agency for more information on how these categories are defined.

We are not yet sure whether, when Malmer Stenergard talks of withdrawing “asylum-related permanent residencies” (or alternatively upgrading their holders to full citizenship), she intends to focus narrowly on the 69,022 directly awarded cases. 

It’s quite likely that the government will also seek to withdraw the permanent residencies received by close relatives of refugees as a result of family reunification. 

Migration Agency figures on residencies granted between 1980 and 2020 show that more than 964,061 of the 2,638,547 who were given permits during the period were given permits because they were close relatives of people who have already been granted asylum. Of those 964,061, only 249,804 were close relatives of people with refugee status. 

This would indicate that perhaps only a third or a quarter of the family reunification permits are in any way asylum-related, so perhaps less than half of 296,981 permanent residencies now held by people in Sweden are under threat under the government’s plans. 

Member comments

  1. Can you please stop always labelling the Sweden Democrats as “far right” and instead just report the news. The “far right” label is clearly intended as a perjorative term. It provides no value or information, and isn’t well defined except perhaps in your own mind. And we don’t see you labelling all other parties regarding their position on the left-right spectrum. Please try to do better.

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For members


Swedish government wants tougher citizenship rules to apply to more applicants

The Swedish government has ordered an ongoing inquiry to look into making stricter rules for citizenship apply to more people than before.

Swedish government wants tougher citizenship rules to apply to more applicants

As The Local reported at the time, parliament this month voted through tougher rules for so-called “citizenship through notification” – medborgarskap genom anmälan – an easier route to Swedish citizenship available to some categories of applicants.

The government now wants to scrap the option completely.

“It is important to protect the importance of Swedish citizenship. The government has already taken measures to strengthen Swedish citizenship. The requirements for Swedish citizenship need to be tightened further to increase its value,” said Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard, of the conservative Moderate Party, in a statement as she presented the new instructions to the inquiry on Thursday.

Under current rules, citizenship through notification is available to children who have lived in Sweden for at least three years (two if stateless), young adults between 18 and 21 who have lived in Sweden since they turned 13 (15 if stateless) and Nordic citizens.


The route would still be available to Nordic citizens. It might not be possible to completely scrap the right for stateless adults due to international conventions, but the government still wants the inquiry to look into tightening the rules for that group in other ways.

The government also wants the inquiry to come up with proposals for tightening the rules for acquiring citizenship for adults who were born stateless in Sweden, and investigate whether exemptions from citizenship requirements should be removed or reduced.

Such exemptions currently mean that someone can become a citizen even if they don’t meet the requirements in terms of how long they’ve lived in Sweden, for example if they were previously Swedish, if their partner is Swedish, or if there are other special reasons.

The new instructions have been handed to Sweden’s major inquiry into tightening overall citizenship rules, which is already looking into a range of new legislative changes, for example extending the time applicants have to live in Sweden before they are eligible for citizenship and proposing requirements for language and knowledge of Swedish culture.

This inquiry was originally supposed to conclude by the end of September 2024, but has now been extended to January 15th, 2025.