The year 2015 marks a crucial moment in the recent history of Swedish migration policy as the Swedish government decided to introduce permanent border controls and stricter regulations concerning asylum and other conditions for accepting refugees. This article discusses how well-integrated members of the Swedish society experienced these changes, more precisely how social work students experienced the U-turn in Swedish refugee policies. Our study is based on quantitative and qualitative material compiled within the framework of an international research project . Through focus-group discussions and a complementary survey, the students described the impact of the new policies on asylum seekers in particular, and on Swedish society in general, and above all the students narrated how these changes have affected their closer private sphere. Their reflections express anxiety, uncertainty, and sometimes fear when they identify increased and openly expressed racism, both in the public sphere and in their immediate surroundings. The students intend to create arguments and strategies to overcome these destructive processes, however, the conceptual tools learned in social work formation prevent them from finding strategies to address the issues they are trying to overcome. The concept of ontological insecurity provides the analytical tool to understand the general consequences of these changes that social work students represent.
Key words: turning point, Swedish refugee policies, distrust, ontological insecurity, Swedish citizens, social distance, social work students