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Immigration brings population rise

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14:49 CET+01:00
Sweden's population is rising, and it's mainly due to immigration, according to figures published by Statistics Sweden on Wednesday. The number of people seeking asylum in Sweden is continuing to fall, however.

Immigration accounted for 75 percent of the growth in Sweden's population in 2005. For the European Union as a whole this figure was 85 percent. Some 27,111 more people moved to Sweden than moved out.

This pattern is repeated in most EU countries: 20 out of 25 member states had an immigrant surplus last year, and the union's population rose by 2 million, of which 1.7 million were international immigrants.

The number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden is continuing to fall. Last year, 17,530 people applied for asylum, down 25 percent on 2004, which in turn saw a reduction from 2003. For the whole EU, applications for asylum were down 16 percent in the first three quarters.

The countries with the largest number of people seeking refugee status in Sweden were Serbian and Montenegro and Iraq.

Total immigration to Sweden last year was 65,229. This figure includes Swedes who moved back after periods abroad, and at 13,932 they were the largest single group of immigrants.

Among the 164 other nationalities who moved to Sweden last year, Danes, Poles, Iraqis, Finns and Norwegians were the largest groups.

Over half (54 percent) of immigrants were granted residency because they had family in Sweden. People coming to Sweden to work were the next largest group (13 percent), followed by students (9 percent) and those granted residency on humanitarian grounds (9 percent). Around 8 percent of immigrants were refugees.

Immigrants from Poland were an exception to this rule: 45 percent of Polish immigrants who moved to Sweden did so because they had jobs.

TT/The Local

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