Sweden: Parliament approves new law that forces municipalities to settle migrants
All parties except the Sweden Democrats have approved a new law that forces municipalities to settle migrants granted asylum. The law is controversial because it violates the principle of local self-government enshrined in the constitution.
The reason for the reform is the lack of capacity in the current system that is based on the immigrants own ability to find housing in combination with voluntary agreements for municipalities to accommodate those who need help. The high number of persons granted international protection since the mid-00s and the current refugee crisis have led to bottlenecks where many persons granted asylum continue to stay in reception centres for long periods of time. According to the Government, it is therefore necessary that all municipalities take responsibility for the reception of newly arrived immigrants, and the new legislation will be in force as of March 2016.
The Act imposes an obligation on a municipality to settle newly arrived immigrants staying at the Migration Board's reception centers. The Act does however not affect the possibility for newly arrived immigrants to find a place on their own.
The allocation of migrants between the municipalities shall take into account local labour market conditions, population size and the overall number of newly arrived immigrants, unaccompanied minors and asylum seekers already living in the municipality. How the law will be enforced is not entirely clear as there are no sanctions in the law.