Asylum seekers ‘should move where the jobs are’

Asylum seekers in Sweden could soon face new measures to stop them moving to areas which already have large numbers of refugees, after the government announced on Tuesday an inquiry into the issue.

Migration Minister Tobias Billström said on Tuesday that people claiming asylum in Sweden will have to live where the jobs are.

Municipalities including Gothenburg, Malmö and Södertälje have long complained over asylum seekers’ right to live where they want. They say that immigrants gravitate to areas where their compatriots are concentrated, straining local infrastructure.

Billström said that he would be preparing instructions for the inquiry “in the near future”:

“The most important thing is to link employment with where people live. We want to encourage people to live in parts of the country where there are both jobs and homes,” he said. But Billström said he was not in favour of a legal bar on asylum seekers living where they want.

New statistics produced by news agency TT show that more than half of those applying for asylum in Sweden this year will be allowed to stay. This compares to just 13 percent in the two years prior to introduction of the 2005 Aliens Act.

These extra migrants, together with people moving to Sweden on the basis of a family connection and so-called quota refugees, mean that at least 30,000 people will need places on locally-run courses providing introductions to Swedish society.

Tobias Billström said it was important to note that “the international situation is a fundamental factor” in the rising number of asylum seekers.

“[Education minister] Jan Björklund knows exactly how many third graders are starting in the autumn, but I don’t really have that luxury,” he added.