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Sweden reintroduces ID checks for border control

Proposes law to back ID requirement, make transport companies responsible
Sweden reintroduces ID checks for border control

Sweden’s government has extended temporary identity document checks at its borders and proposed a law to make transport companies ensure those entering the country by bus, train or ship have valid IDs, according to a release translated from Swedish.

The law, proposed in a legislative council referral, would provide a legal basis and set rules for the government to require valid IDs for entry by said modes of transport for a limited period of time, and only if there is an event in an area of migration or a serious danger to public order or internal security has emerged.

“In the proposed law, the government is given the authority to decide that, for a limited period of time, it shall be prohibited to transport people without a valid ID document by bus, train or passenger ship to Sweden,” the government announcement reads, as translated by Google.

Those who violate the ban can face between 30,000 and 250,000 Swedish kronor (roughly US$2,893 to $24,107) in penalties.

The government must make a public announcement in order for the ID check requirement to apply. It can introduce the requirement for a maximum of six months at a time, but can be extended by six month increments if the danger remains.

The move follows attempts by EU border agency Frontex to spur the adoption of mobile biometric scanners as an alternative to the reintroduction of border controls within the Schengen zone. Germany, Austria, Norway and Denmark have each brought back checks at borders with other EU nations.

A temporary law was introduced by Sweden in 2015 to allow for the ID check requirement during the migration crisis at the time, but it expired in 2018. Since spring of 2022, the national government has imposed a series of extensions on a temporary requirement for ID checks on passenger ships, and now wants to extend them until June 30, 2024, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.

The Swedish government’s most recent extension on internal border control took effect on November 12th, 2023 after the director general of the Swedish Security Service raised the terrorist threat level from “elevated” (level 3) to “high” (level 4) out of a five level scale. While this requirement is set to expire on May 11th, 2024, this newly proposed law would be permanent and would take effect on March 1, 2024.

Border control is currently the only available measure to enable ID checks of those entering the country who pose a threat to national security, the release states.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 189,620 irregular migrants reached Europe in 2022, up from 151,417 in 2021.

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