Sweden To Limit Social Benefits For Non-EU Immigrants

Sweden Immigration : Stricter Measures for Non-EU Immigrants

In a significant policy shift, Sweden’s right-wing government, led by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, has unveiled a series of comprehensive immigration reforms aimed at making it tougher for non-European immigrants to access social benefits. The move is part of a broader strategy to both dissuade further migration and improve the integration of immigrants already in the country.

This move comes a year after Kristersson’s minority government secured unprecedented backing from the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD). One of the key promises made by this coalition was to clamp down on immigration and address issues related to crime and integration.

Sweden Immigration Changes for Non-EU

Sweden, known for its generous welfare state, has historically welcomed a substantial number of immigrants, particularly from conflict-stricken regions such as the former Yugoslavia, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, and Iraq. However, the country has faced ongoing challenges in effectively integrating these diverse populations.

In an opinion piece published in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, leaders of the three-party coalition and the far-right SD stated, “Since 2012, more than 770,000 people have immigrated to Sweden from countries outside the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA).

Together with an integration policy that has made almost no demands on immigrants and provided no incentive to integrate into society, extensive immigration has created a divided Sweden.”

The article highlights concerns about issues such as segregation, social exclusion, unemployment, poor educational outcomes, and a perceived lack of shared Swedish values within these immigrant communities. Notably, the opinion piece does not provide specific official data or comparative information regarding the number of Swedish citizens receiving benefits.

The proposed reforms include measures to compel non-European immigrants to learn Swedish and seek employment in the nation’s highly skilled job market. Immigrants from EU and EEA countries, covered by broader freedom of movement regulations, will not be affected by these changes.

Furthermore, the government intends to introduce a cap on benefits for non-European immigrants, preventing them from receiving multiple allowances, such as those for children, housing, unemployment, sickness, and parental leave. The precise duration immigrants must wait before qualifying for benefits is yet to be determined.

Refugee groups and the political opposition have yet to provide their reactions to these reforms, but earlier reports from InfoMigrants, a collaboration between major European media organizations, indicated that Sweden’s evolving stance on immigration reflects the influence of the Sweden Democrats on government policy.

The government also noted that asylum applications to Sweden have decreased by 26 percent compared to a year ago, in contrast to a 30-percent increase observed in the rest of Europe.

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