Sweden - Migration Court, 10 November 2011, UM 1796-11

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
UM 1796-11
Court Name:
Migration Court (Malmö Administrative Court)
Relevant Legislative Provisions:
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Sweden - Utlänningslagen (Aliens Act) (2005:716) - Chapter 4 Section 2
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Saudi Arabia is not considered a safe third country for non-Saudi nationals.


The applicants (a woman and her two minor children) applied for asylum in Sweden in October 2010. They claimed to be Eritrean citizens but also residents of Saudi Arabia, from where they also had been expelled. The woman’s spouse and father of her children was a migrant worker with a Saudi sponsor. His residence permit, which also applied to the applicant, expired in July 2010. The applicant claimed her husband had not been able to renew the permit as he had been jailed. She also claimed that she and her children could not return to Eritrea, where they were at risk of being persecuted, nor to Saudi Arabia where they would not be allowed in the country.

In its decision (16 May 2011) the Migration Court concluded that the applicant indeed could claim grounds for protection against Eritrea. The Board however did not find that there were any such risks in relation to Saudi Arabia or that the applicants had made it probable that the family could not return there. The Migration Board denied the applications for asylum, referring to Saudi Arabia as a safe third country.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Migration Court held an oral hearing in the case. In its judgment (19 November 2011) the Court concentrated on whether Saudi Arabia can be seen as a safe third country. The Court’s reasoning mainly concerns Article 27 of the Asylum Procedures Directive. The Court stated that it is clear from the Article that Member States may apply the safe third country concept only where the competent authorities are satisfied that a person seeking asylum will be treated in accordance certain principles in the third country concerned. The Migration Court then concluded from the COI that the access to seeking asylum in Saudi Arabia is in practice very limited and that persons falling within the scope of the refugee definition are either refused entry to the country or are returned to their country of origin. Furthermore, migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are a particularly vulnerable group. 

In conclusion, the Migration Court found that Saudi Arabia could not be considered a safe third country for the applicants and that there was a significant risk that they would be returned to Eritrea. As a result, the applicants were granted subsidiary protection under Chapter 4, Section 2 first part 1 (transposing, in part, the Qualification Directive Art 15 (a) and (b)).


The Migration Court granted the appeal.

Subsequent Proceedings : 

Yet to be decided at the time of writing.