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Sweden Seeks To Tighten Immigration Policy

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The Swedish government has announced that it’s seriously considering requiring immigrants to have jobs and housing before being allowed to bring in family members to join them.

In a joint statement on thursday, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Migration Minister Tobias Billström said Sweden was the only country in the European Union, apart from Belgium, that did not require immigrants to be able to financially support their relatives who come here to live.

”The requirement means that a person residing in Sweden must be able to show that he or she has a steady income and housing before his or her relatives are granted residency,” the statement said.

”The aim is to strengthen our employment policy – to allow integration policy to shift from a passive policy to one that focuses on active employment efforts – and raise the prospect of integration,” it said.

The government said it wanted to encourage ”both asylum seekers and those with residency status to move away from areas where there is a lack of housing and work.”

”This is expected to lead to increased employment, reduce the risk of black labour and help resolve the problem of overcrowded living conditions and related problems,” it said.

Families of child immigrants, refugees accepted under UN conventions, and immigrants who have lived in Sweden for at least four years, were all expected to be excluded from the requirement.

The Centre-right government has asked a special rapporteur to submit recommendations for a new law proposal by October this year.

The proposal was criticised by some members of the opposition. A spokesperson for the Left party said that it was one of the most serious restrictions on immigrants human rights for many a year.

Source: By Sveriges Radio 2008

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