Discrimination hits one in three

More than one in three immigrants have faced discrimination in the last three years, and the majority of those say that it is a common occurrence - particularly in the job market.

This week’s press jumped on the results of a survey of 4,000 people by the Anti-Discrimination Office, which suggest that Sweden’s melting pot is still barely defrosting, let alone bubbling away happily.

37% of respondents said that they had been discriminated against, and in the majority of cases this was on the grounds of ethnic origin. But apparently such discrimination is not completely indiscriminate: 54% of those born in Africa said they had experienced the problem, compared to only 14% of those born in other Nordic countries.

“This is even worse than we thought,” said the project’s manager, Julio Fuentes, to Svenska Dagbladet. “We’re talking about inherent structural discrimination. To change these hidden standards is a task for society as a whole.”

The survey revealed that while almost half of all discrimination took place at work, immigrants also face problems in restaurants, nightclubs and cafés. Finding a home is harder too: 20% of respondents said that they had difficulties getting a first-hand contract on an apartment because of their ethnic origin.

But discrimination is the least of the problems facing refugees in Stockholm district, where 270 families with five or more children are on a six-year waiting list for suitably large apartments.

Wednesday’s Dagens Nyheter reported that the council is now considering a proposal, put forward by the Left Party’s Ann-Marie Strömberg, to move such large families to houses.

“We simply don’t have enough large apartments in the city,” Strömberg told the paper. “Often we’re forced to split families up and put them in several different addresses, or make arrangements with hotels. It would be more humane for the families and cheaper for the city if we had houses to rent out.”

But the council is predictably reluctant to join the cut-and-thrust of Stockholm’s property market.

“Since there’s often bidding involved when you’re buying a house, it might look like the council is pushing up the prices for other speculators,” said Lena Karlsson of the Property Department. “And then of course, there’s the tricky question of setting rent levels.”

One political asylum seeker who won’t be getting a Swedish address spent last weekend in Uddevalla jail waiting to be sent home – to Norway.

According to Sunday’s DN, the man was arrested on the E6 by Strömstad traffic police. When they discovered that he was wanted by the Norwegian police for a number of crimes, he stated that he was seeking asylum.

But his delaying tactic got short shrift from the Migration Board’s head of information, Ulla Petersson: “It’s a simple matter. He’s a Norwegian citizen and Norway isn’t a country where citizens are likely to be tortured.”