Swedish citizenship applications on the rise
Published: 07 Jun 2011 18:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jun 2011 18:11 GMT+02:00
The number of people applying to be Swedish citizens is expected to rise in 2011, according to forecasts from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).
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Monday, June 6th was Sweden's National Day, a day when thousands of newly naturalised Swedish citizens attended receptions and ceremonies across the country in honour of their decision to take Swedish citizenship.
Since June 6th was declared an official public holiday in 2005, 145,291 people have been granted Swedish citizenship, according to Migration Board statistics.
Among the largest groups represented among the newly minted Swedes are immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Russia, Serbia, Iraq, Turkey, Poland, the United States, Syria and Somalia, according to the agency.
In 2010, the Migration Board received a total of 32,891 applications for Swedish citizenship, and so far this year, nearly 15,000 applications have come in.
By the end of 2011, the agency expects to have received a total of 37,000 citizenship applications, marking nearly a 13 percent increase compared to 2010.
The figure is expected to climb further in 2012, when the Migration Board expects 40,000 people to seek Swedish citizenship.
One of the explanations for the rise in citizenship applications is the introduction in April 2010 of an online application form, allowing prospective citizens to submit an application via the Migration Board's website.
"So far, the system has worked well, but with the increase in applications, the service will eventually need to be further developed," Jonas Lindgren, a department head with the agency, said in a statement.
"Electronic applications are the future and I'm happy we've had a positive response from our applicants."
Between June 6th, 2010 and May 30th, 2011, a total of 20,864 people were granted Swedish citizenship, according to Migration Board statistics.
Stockholm County welcomed the highest number of new citizens in the past year, registering 6,638 new Swedes.
The countywith the next highest number of newly naturalised Swedes is Västra Götaland (3,285), home to Sweden's second largest city of Gothenburg.
Skåne, home to Malmö in southern Sweden registered 3,014 new Swedish citizens in the last year.
Meanwhile, Gotland County, which consists of the Baltic island of Gotland, saw a mere 42 people take citizenship in the last 12 months, while Jämtland County in northwestern Sweden welcomed 97 new citizens.