The migration court in Sweden ruled that family members of Eritreans residing in Sweden no longer have to obtain IDs or passports for family reunions. The ruling was issued after the court decided that the Eritrean authorities placed undue demands on the refugees, such as paying 2% tax and signing an ‘apology letter’.
In Sweden, family members outside of Sweden wishing to reunite with family members inside needed to obtain a passport or ID from Eritrean authorities. Now, the court has ruled that this requirement should be abolished due to the unreasonable demands by Eritrean authorities in exchange for such consular services. The Swedish migration office has changed its rules based on the ruling.
Eritreans living abroad have to pay 2% income tax, which is often collected through coercion and threats. In addition, the refugees have to sign a letter of apology, accepting any punishment, for leaving the country illegally and not completing the national service. The Swedish court also points to the possibility of family members of Eritreans living abroad being punished for not complying with the Eritrean authorities’ demands.
The Netherlands recently declared the head of the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague ‘persona non grata’ after a conversation between him and an Eritrean refugee was published, recorded in secret, which reveals that the 2% tax and the signing of the apology were required before any consular services would be given.
For more information on the 2% tax, read the report “The 2% Tax for Eritreans in the diaspora” here