At what point should a non-citizen in any country be allowed to stay permanently?
Should it be if they’ve lived there for a certain amount of time? What about if they are over a certain age? What about if they have disabilities? What about all of the above?
That’s the case in Sweden at the moment where a 106-year-old Afghan woman is facing being deported.
Her application for asylum has been rejected, despite being part of a huge influx of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, for example. She arrived two years ago with her family and had been living in a small village in Central Sweden.
While her age may be the main thought, there’s more to the story. She is also severely disabled and can barely speak. She also had a stroke after hearing the news and her health has deteriorated further.
The Swedish Migration Agency explained that high age does not in itself provide grounds for asylum, which is why she’d been told to leave.
While Sweden is turning people away, like this 106-year-old, Australia is too. Every year, many more people apply to be resettled under Australia’s Humanitarian Programme than Australia can accept.
In 2015 the Australian Government committed to making an extra 12,000 humanitarian places available, following the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Those places were all taken, as of March 21 this year.
Priority was given to those were were assessed as being most vulnerable. That included persecuted minorities, women, children and families least likely to be able to return safely to their homes. Australia also focused on those who were from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
Australia has also contributed financially, with more than $213 million in humanitarian assistance since 2011, but can more possibly be done?