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Officials ordered to solve ID problem

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18:34 CET+01:00
Top officials have been ordered by the government to find a solution to the problem that immigrants are being denied Swedish ID cards.

After The Local highlighted the issue earlier this month, civil servants from three government departments have been charged with looking at the problem and reporting back to the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament, on 27th March.

Thousands of immigrants have been denied ID cards since January, after Svensk Kassaservice stopped issuing them to people who are not Swedes or married to Swedes.

Liberal Party migration spokesman Fredrik Malm raised the question in the Riksdag after he was alerted to the problem by The Local.

Now, civil servants for the ministers for justice, integration, finance and migration have formed a working group to try to find a solution.

Ann-Marie Åsheden, spokeswoman for integration minister Nyamko Sabuni, said the group had been put together very quickly. She said it would look at the problem, then find solutions. The group also contains a representative from the discrimination ombudsman.

The civil servants in the working group will meet with representatives from Posten, the parent company of Svensk Kassaservice, and with representatives of the banking industry. Banks and Svensk Kassaservice are the only organizations that currently issue Swedish ID.

Speaking to The Local on Friday, Malm said he was positive about the move.

"I hope they will find a good solution to the problem. Now, at least, there's nobody who's not aware of the problem."

Malm has proposed giving the Swedish Migration Board the responsibility for issuing ID cards to people with residence permits.

"I still think that this is the best solution to the problem, but the most important thing is not that they choose a particular solution, just that they find a solution."

Even if the working group puts forward concrete proposals to deal with the issue, it is likely to take time before the changes are implemented, Malm warns.

Meanwhile, his recommendation is that people with residence permits ask staff from the Swedish Migration Board to accompany them to Svensk Kassaservice when applying for ID.

"We have to give people who are granted residency the practical tools for living in Sweden," he said.

Svensk Kassaservice introduced rules at the beginning of January, under which it said it would only issue ID cards to Swedish citizens or to people who were married to or blood relations with a Swedish citizen. The rules were tightened after the organization issued ID cards on the back of fraudulent applications.

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