Sweden – Migration Court of Appeal rules in a case of family reunification of subsidiary protection beneficiary

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

On 14 November, the Migration Court of Appeal in Sweden ruled in a case concerning the three-year postponement requirement in Swedish law in cases of family reunification for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

The case concerned the right to family reunification of a minor national of Syria who had arrived in Sweden with his uncle. His parents and a sibling applied for residence permits to reunite with him after he was granted subsidiary protection status but their applications were rejected by the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA). The Migration Court upheld SMA’s decision and concluded that the refusal to grant family reunification did not breach the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

On appeal, the Migration Court of Appeal first noted that beneficiaries of subsidiary protection do not fall within the scope of Directive 2003/86/EC. However, it went on to examine the balance between the family's interest in reunification and the Swedish government's interest in the reduction of the number of asylum-seekers, in view of major strains in the national asylum system. The Court found that in light of Article 8 ECHR and relevant ECtHR jurisprudence, the authorities’ refusal of family reunification in the present case cannot be considered proportionate.

In this connection, the appellate court also attached particular weight to the principle of the best interests of the child, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to reiterate that further delays in family reunification were not in accordance with that principle. The judges concluded that the restriction imposed on the right to family life was contrary to Sweden’s international obligations under Article 8 ECHR and Articles 3, 9 and 10 CRC.

Many thanks to Martin Nyman, ELENA Coordinator for Sweden, for bringing this case to our attention and providing us with a summary of the judgment.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                                                


Best interest of the child
Family reunification
Subsidiary Protection
Unaccompanied minor