Swedish government revises refugee policy

On three main points, the government has decided to back off on its restrictive refugee policy. However, Dagens Nyheter reports that the main policy strategy is still in place. The Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson (S), announced on Wednesday that three points would be modified, but that the overall direction – that Sweden should become less attractive for refugees – remains the same. “If we are the only country that offers permanent residency there is a risk that many of those who come to Europe will also try to reach Sweden” said Johansson. The government is to ease up on the requirements to have a job to achieve permanent residency, because there is a risk that children drop out of their educations in order to qualify. Instead, people under the age of 25 will receive permanent residency if they complete secondary school or an equivalent education. Also when it comes to joining one’s relatives in Sweden, policy will be softened – in certain cases a relative will be granted residency. The government is also open towards some of the quota refugees that Sweden received being allowed to be re-united with their relatives. The Moderates have criticised the decision to waive the pre-requisite of work for those under the age of 25, claiming it goes against the refugee agreement among the Riksdag parties last year. “If unaccompanied minors or Swedish youths begin to work when they are 18 that is their choice. They must have the same opportunities as others. Neither 18-year-olds nor 23-year-olds are children” said Elisabeth Svantesson, the Moderates’ spokesperson for immigration issues.

Sjöstedt: Refugee policy will divide many families

The criticism against the government’s refugee policies is harsh even though several points have been relaxed in comparison to the autumn proposal. SVT reports that the Left Party leader, Jonas Sjöstedt, criticised the proposal when debating with the Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson (S), on Aktuellt on Wednesday. “We are not happy at all. What makes me feel the worst about this is that it will divide many families. It may be that a father manages to come here with his little daughter, while the mother and two children remain in a refugee camp in war-torn Syria. They had hoped to reunite in Sweden and live as one family again. That will be very, very difficult now” said Sjöstedt. Morgan Johansson and the government argues that receiving as many refugees as Sweden did last fall will not make it possible to give these refugees a safe and dignified reception.

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Edgar Mannheimer is a journalist at Mundus News. Edgar has a passion for politics, foreign affairs and music. He grew up in Egypt, the US, Stockholm, and Jordan, following his mother’s job as a foreign correspondent. Bilingual with English as an academic language and Swedish as his mother tongue, he returned to Sweden to study at Lund University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies. During his time in Lund he was editor-in-chief of Radio UPF, the radio committee of the Association of Foreign Affairs, and also started a music program as a solo project. After Lund, he moved to Stockholm and recieved a Master’s degree in journalism from Stockholm University’s media institution, JMK.