Swedish Migration Agency rebuked for ‘unacceptable’ processing times

The time taken for Sweden's Migration Agency to process asylum, work permit, and other requests is "unacceptable", the country's Parliamentary Ombudsman has concluded after a new investigation.

Swedish Migration Agency rebuked for 'unacceptable' processing times
Migration Agency offices in Stockholm. File photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

In a press statement, Parliamentary Ombudsman Per Lennerbrant said that the Migration Agency must make “special efforts” to address the long waiting times faced by those applying for asylum, permanent residency, or citizenship in Sweden.

He said he had decided to launch a new investigation into the issue after complaints continued to come in about long processing times, despite him highlighting the problem in a previous investigation, the conclusions of which were published in January 2021. 

“In my previous assessment I spoke of a fear that the agency’s long processing times would become the norm if serious measures were not taken,” he said.

“I am now forced to confirm that my fears appear to have been valid. The Migration Agency must make special efforts to address the long processing times.”

According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s statement, it is “unacceptable” that the Migration Agency, year after year, has unreasonably long processing times for a large range of cases.


The Ombudsman criticised the Migration Agency for “slow and passive” processing in all cases which were a subject of the investigation.

A copy of the decision has been sent to Sweden’s governmental offices, as the long waiting times are also in part due to lacking resources.

Lennerbrant will continue to follow the issue of waiting times at the Migration Agency, he said.

Member comments

  1. Glad you keep bringing this topic up, it’s crazy. I’m 6 months into a predicted *36* month wait for my citizenship application, I’ve not even been given a case worker yet.

    There shouldn’t be any complications with my case. I’ve been living (as an EU citizen) with my Swedish born sambo for 4 years, the rule is you have to have been living like that for 2 years. How can the estimated wait time be LONGER than the time it would take before I can legally apply to be citizen?

    Luckily my case is not going to affect my right to be here long term, but for those who risk deportation or having their lives here uprooted it must be awful and stressful.

  2. Waiting for 42 months to receive a decision on my citizenship application having lived for 12+ years. Out of theseyears, 2 years of MSc, 5 years of PhD and now working for 5 years in IT sector. It is easy to lose patience actually.

  3. Yes, one more problem is some cases are not done via first come first serve basis.

    If there are additional documents and it’s delayed then it is fine but the basis on which the cases are picked is so unclear.

    This long time 5 months + even for certified employer and certified agency is little sad.

  4. I really hope this comes to an end. Just because of this excessive long waiting time, me and my husband is waiting for more than a 1.5 year now! Its frustrating. Even after a case officer assigned, you just keep waiting for decision. I dont know why!!

    I hope MV gets the point of how ridiculously our lives are hampered by this long waiting times!!

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How would a ‘youth mobility scheme’ between the UK and EU really work?

The EU and the UK could enter into a 'youth mobility' scheme allowing young people to move countries to work, study and live. Here's what we know about the proposal.

How would a 'youth mobility scheme' between the UK and EU really work?

Across the 27 countries of the EU, people of all ages can move countries to work, study, spend a long visit or chase the possibility of love – and all this is possible thanks to EU freedom of movement.

That freedom no longer extends to the UK. As a result of Brexit, a UK national who wants to move to an EU country, or an EU citizen who wants to move to the UK, will need a visa in order to do so.

However, a new ‘mobility scheme’ could re-create some elements of freedom of movement, if the EU and UK can come to an agreement.

The European Commission on Thursday announced proposals for a ‘youth mobility scheme’.

Who would benefit?

First things first, it’s only for the youngsters, older people will have to continue with the time-consuming and often expensive process of getting a visa for study, work or visiting.

The Commission’s proposal is for a scheme that covers people aged 18 to 30. 

Their reasoning is: “The withdrawal of the UK from the EU has resulted in decreased mobility between the EU and the UK. This situation has particularly affected the opportunities for young people to experience life on the other side of the Channel and to benefit from youth, cultural, educational, research and training exchanges.

“The proposal seeks to address in an innovative way the main barriers to mobility for young people experienced today and create a right for young people to travel from the EU to the UK and vice-versa more easily and for a longer period of time.”

How would it work?

We’re still at an early stage, but the proposal is to allow extended stays – for young people to be able to spend up to four years in the EU or UK – under a special type of visa or residency permit. It does not, therefore, replicate the paperwork-free travel of the pre-Brexit era.

The Commission states that travel should not be ‘purpose bound’ to allow young people to undertake a variety of activities while they are abroad.

Under the visa system, people must travel to a country for a specific purpose which has been arranged before they leave – ie in order to study they need a student visa which requires proof of enrolment on a course, or if they intend to work they need a working visa which often requires sponsorship from an employer.

The proposal would allow young people to spend their time in a variety of ways – perhaps some time working, a period of study and then some time travelling or just relaxing.

It would also not be subject to national or Bloc-wide quotas.

It seems that some kind of visa or residency permit would still be required – but it would be issued for up to four years and could be used for a variety of activities.

Fees for this should not be “excessive” – and the UK’s health surcharge would not apply to people travelling under this scheme.

Are there conditions?

Other than the age qualification, the proposal is that young people would have to meet other criteria, including having comprehensive health insurance, plus financial criteria to ensure that they will be able to support themselves while abroad.

The visa/residency permit could be rejected on the ground of threats to public policy, public security or public health.

Will this happen soon?

Slow down – what’s happened today is that the European Commission has made a recommendation to open negotiations.

This now needs to be discussed in the Council of Europe.

If the Council agrees then, and only then, will the EU open negotiations with the UK on the subject. The scheme could then only become a reality if the EU and UK come to an agreement on the terms of the scheme, and then refine the fine details.

Basically we’re talking years if it happens at all, and there’s plenty of steps along the way that could derail the whole process.

Don’t start packing just yet.