AFP, October 20, 2023
Sweden’s right-wing government said on Friday it would make it harder for non-European immigrants to receive social benefits, saying it wanted to dissuade migrants from arriving, and better integrate those who do.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s minority government came to power a year ago with — for the first time — backing from the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD). It has vowed to crack down on immigration and crime.
But it has struggled to integrate them.
“Since 2012, more than 770,000 people have immigrated to Sweden from countries outside the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA),” the leaders of the three-party coalition and the far-right SD wrote in an opinion piece in newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
“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,” they alleged.
They argued that the Scandinavian country of 10.3 million people, known for its generous cradle-to-grave welfare state, had “significant problems” with foreign-born people who were unemployed and live on benefits.
The government plans to bring in reforms that will require non-European immigrants to learn Swedish and find work in the country’s highly-skilled jobs market, and was launching a probe to work out details of the plan.