The Swedish intelligence service (Säpo) reviews every individual that applies for a residence permit in Sweden, Swedish Radio reports according to neweurope.eu.
According to the head of special operations of the Swedish Migration Agency, the background check takes place irrespectively of whether the individual applicant is in Sweden or applies for asylum at an embassy anywhere in the world. If Säpo finds an individual could pose a threat to national security, the agency will recommend that a visa or asylum status is not granted.
This new “default” security protocol kicked off in the summer of 2017, following an agreement between the social democratic government and the center-right opposition.
In the past, such thorough security screenings were reserved for citizenship applications alone. Only if the Migration Agency signaled there were reasons to check a specific individual.
As a result, security screenings have now gone from 700 last year (2015-2016) to 20,000 in the third quarter of 2017 alone. Since July, Säpo has recommended that 50 individuals are denied a residence permit.