EMN National Contact Point
for the Slovak Republic

National EMN Conference on Unaccompanied Minors – Swedish and European Perspectives, Stockholm, 8 October 2014

16 July 2013

On October 8, 2014, the international conference of the Swedish EMN National Contact Point (NCP) entitled Unaccompanied Minors – Swedish and European Perspectives took place in Stockholm and was attended by the Slovak EMN NCP representative.

The conference was related to recent legislative changes in reception system in Sweden enabling the Swedish Migration Board to assign unaccompanied minors to municipalities even when they have not agreed to receive these minors. Swedish Government thus reacts to enormous increase in influx of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum which should reach the highest level ever, 6 500 estimated for 2014. The Swedish model for reception of unaccompanied minors was introduced in 2006 when the number of unaccompanied minors coming to Sweden had been around 400 per year. Within this model the Swedish Migration Board is responsible for processing of asylum applications and local municipalities for offering accommodation and care for unaccompanied minors. Theme of the conference also fed into this year EMN study on Policies, practices and data on unaccompanied minors whose content and aims were presented by EMN service provider (ICF International).

In the first session representatives of Swedish Migration Board introduced Swedish reception system, asylum procedure for and age assessment of unaccompanied minors. Afterwards, speakers focused on reception procedures as well as care for and integration of unaccompanied minors into Swedish society.

Elisabeth Melin from Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and social worker Gunilla Andersson from Rinkeby-Kista Stockholm city district presented role and experiences of local authorities’ reception and care for unaccompanied minors. They stressed that currently only three out of ten unaccompanied minors can be placed in foster families instead of state or educational facilities. Gunilla Andersson also highlighted the importance of education for this group of migrants. Heart of Swedish reception model for unaccompanied minors is based on the best interest and individual needs of a minor. Mapping of successes rather than problems connected with integration of unaccompanied minors was the main aim of recent research by Magdalena Bjerneld from Uppsala University. The research was for the first time in Sweden targeted exclusively at unaccompanied girls and was done through several interviews with women from Somalia who after 15 years spoke about their experiences with reception procedures, integration into Swedish society as well as current life in Sweden.

In the last panel, representatives of various EMN NCPs introduced their reception systems for unaccompanied minors in Norway, Ireland, Austria and Italy and discussed also ongoing challenges these national systems face. Samarie Wijekoon Löfendahl from UNHCR Regional Representation for Northern Europe then informed about new UNHCR publication Safe and Sound: what States can do to ensure respect for the best interests of unaccompanied and separated children in Europe which includes guidance for the developed countries especially in Europe.

More information about the conference including programme and presentations is available on Swedish EMN NCP website.

The conference was preceded by a cluster meeting held on 7 October. The informal meeting was attended by several EMN NCP representatives who discussed the upcoming external EMN evaluation as well as future evolvement and possible modifications of EMN Annual Policy Reports.

EMN Coordinator for Slovakia

International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Office in the Slovak Republic

www.emn.sk | ↗ www.iom.sk
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EMN Coordinator for the EU

European Comission - Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs 

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