Palestinian Refugees Deeply Concerned as Sweden Sets Severe Citizenship Criteria

Palestinian Refugees Deeply Concerned as Sweden Sets Severe Citizenship Criteria

Palestinian refugees rally in Sweden over denial of right to asylum.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers in Sweden, including Palestinian refugees, have voiced deep concern over their fate after the Swedish Migration Agency announced tough requirements for becoming a Swedish citizen.

Applicants are required to prove their identity—quite a difficult task for Palestinian refugees who lost their documents as a result of war and years of displacement.

The applicant should also be 18 years of age or older, have a permanent residence permit (a temporary residence permit is not applicable), or have a right of residence or residence card (applies to the applicant if he/she is an EU citizen or a close relative of an EU citizen).

In order to apply for citizenship, the candidate should have met the requirements for habitual residence (i.e. lived in Sweden for a certain amount of time) and have conducted him(her)self well while in Sweden.

Activists said such tough conditions make it almost impossible for refugees holding temporary visas and wishing to obtain permanent visas to apply for citizenship in the kingdom.

Since mid-July 2016, the Swedish authorities suspended permanent visa procedures for holders of temporary protection cards.

Over the past few years, thousands of Palestinian and Syrian refugees, among other migrants, who have applied for asylum in Sweden were only granted two-year temporary visas.

Hundreds of families coming from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the diaspora have reportedly been threatened with deportation in Sweden. Several refugees, including elderly refugees and persons with special needs, have been staying in the country for over 10 years. Dozens of children have also been born in the country.

Though the Swedish authorities consider Palestine as an unsafe place, with poor education and health services, they have been denying Palestinian refugees humanitarian asylum.

Over recent years, thousands of Palestinian refugees have been denied asylum in several European countries and received immediate deportation orders.

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