In the autumn of 2015, the Swedish government agreed with the opposition to limit access to permanent residence permits at the same time as it was flagged that the refugees who arrived could no longer be guaranteed a roof over their heads. In the media, this was described as a signal policy - as a way to make Sweden less attractive as a destination country. In addition to the view of the opportunities that are perceived to exist in Sweden, the report also analyzes the potential risks that the trip there poses, and how they are perceived by the Syrian refugees.

Some overall conclusions and recommendations

  • Legal routes into Europe for Syrian citizens and stateless persons from Syria are limited. Most interviewees in the study have therefore hired smugglers during at least some part of the trip to Sweden.
  • Most of those interviewed in the study had decided from the beginning to apply to a certain country, in many cases Sweden.
  • Three reasons for choosing Sweden as a destination country emerge; the first is Sweden's relatively generous asylum policy at the time, the second is the positive image many asylum seekers have of Sweden as a democratic and comparatively humane country and finally, family, kinship and friendship ties can influence asylum seekers' choice of destination country.
  • Work and housing are important prerequisites for establishing oneself in Sweden after arrival, but many felt that it is more difficult to get into Swedish society than they had expected and the concern for relatives in the home country makes it difficult to focus on life here .

About the author of the report

The report, The choice and the path: An interview study with newly arrived Syrians in Sweden (2015: 8), is written by Emma Jørum Lundgren, researcher at the Department of Political Science, Uppsala University.

Picture by Rostyslav Savchyn from Unsplash.