Sweden - Migration Court, 17 March 2011, UM 206-11

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
UM 206-11
Court Name:
Migration Court (Administrative) Stockholm
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An unaccompanied minor from Mongolia was granted a residence permit on the gounds of “particularly distressing circumstances”. The Court held that the applicant would be in a very fragile and vulnerable position if returned as she was a minor without a family or a social network, she suffered from psychological problems and would be forced to live in an orphanage. The Court noted that child labour, child abuse and the sexual exploitation of children are problems in Mongolia and that it is a source and transit country for trafficking.


The applicant sought asylum in Sweden alone on the 10th May 2010. The applicant grew up in Mongolia. Her biological mother died when the she was born. The applicant lived with her father and stepmother. They were physically violent towards her and forced her to start working at the age of five. About two years before the applicant left Mongolia her father and stepmother abandoned her without warning. They forced the applicant to live on the street. She had to look for food in rubbish bins to survive. The applicant was harassed regularly by other children in the area, both verbally and stones and bottles were thrown at her. The applicant did not seek help in Mongolia because she was not aware of any organisation or authority that she could turn to. The applicant stated that she travelled to Sweden with the help of her biological uncle who had found her.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Migration Board rejected the application on the grounds that the applicant have provided  insufficient reasons for her claim and that she lacked credibility. Neither the parents' mistreatment of the applicant, nor the fact that the applicant had to live on the street, or that she was harassed by other children, were considered sufficient reasons for the applicant to be considered in need of protection. With regard to forced labour, the Migration Board deemed that the applicant had the opportunity for redress from the domestic authorities. The Migration Board further questioned the applicant’s credibility regarding assistance from her uncle and found it unlikely that he would have found the applicant at a refuse dump without having known that she had been abandoned.

In assessing whether there were particularly distressing circumstances to grant the applicant a residence permit, the Migration Board stated that the applicant had not shown it likely she was an abandoned child because she had not shown that it was reasonably likely that she had no parents or other relatives left at home. The Migration Board stressed that there was an orphanage in Mongolia which accepted children up to the age of eighteen. The Migration Board did not consider that there were reasons to believe that the applicant would not have her basic material needs met on return. 

The applicant also submitted a medical certificate stating that she had been diagnosed with mental trauma. The applicant suffered from insomnia, nightmares and had difficulty concentrating and found it very difficult to recollect experiences from her country of origin. The Migration Board did not consider that the diagnosis was sufficient for the application of the rule on particularly distressing circumstances.

The applicant appealed to the Migration Court.

On appeal to the Migration Court the applicant argued that she was in need of protection pursuant to Chapter 4. § 2 Aliens Act, because she had no social safety net and if returned would be forced to live a life on the street and be subjected to physical and mental harassment. The appeal further emphasised that it was not reasonable to require that a child should contact the police or seek assistance from organisations that did not exist in her own hometown.

The Migration Court believed that the applicant had provided a consistent account that gave an authentic impression and therefore considered her as credible. The Court agreed, however, with the Migration Board's assessment of the claimed contact with the uncle. Notwithstanding, the credibility of the remainder of the applicant’s account should not be questioned as a result.

The Migration Court, however, did not consider that the experiences of the applicant were sufficient for her to qualify for protection based on ill-treatment or punishment. The Court also considered based on country of origin data that the Mongolian authorities in general could protect their citizens from criminal acts. In addition the Court believed that the health certificate on the applicant’s mental trauma was not sufficient grounds to grant her a residence permit because of particularly distressing circumstances.

However the Court accepted that the applicant had no family or other relatives who could care for her in Mongolia and that she would on return be referred to an orphanage. The Court pointed out that child labour, child abuse and sexual exploitation of children are problems in Mongolia and that it is a source and transit country for trafficking.

Since the applicant was a teenage girl and had no network, suffered from psychological problems and if returned would be confined to an orphanage the Migration Court held that she would be in a very exposed and vulnerable position on return. Taking an overall view and bearing in mind the applicant’s previous experiences and taking into account the lack of places at orphanages that exists in Mongolia, the Court considered that there were particularly distressing circumstances and that the applicant should be granted a residence permit.


The Migration Court quashed the Migration Board's decision and granted a permanent residence permit on the grounds of particularly distressing circumstances.