Moderates reject ‘misguided benevolence’ for immigrants

Sweden's Moderates want to see a tougher line on asylum seekers. Government reforms are positive, but employment should be a priority, a parliamentary group argues.

The government has conducted a reform of immigration and integration policy and has received praised from the Moderate party. However a parliamentary working group made up of members of the party would like the reforms to go further and prioritize employment when considering asylum applications.

Clear, financial incentives are required for asylum seekers to seek residence in areas where jobs and housing are available. The same requirements should also be made of those who later apply for residence permits.

The proposals are part of demands made by the Moderate parliamentary group in a full page opinion article published in Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday. The group will present a detailed proposal in the spring 2009.

The group argues that a misdirected benevolence has led to a permissive situation where people of working age, regardless of ethnicity, live on benefits for extended periods of time instead of supporting themselves. This hits immigrants particularly hard, they claim.

Of those who secure a residence permit and take part in local introduction schemes only 20 percent are self-supporting after two and a half years with a permit. The situation is not improved by poor financial incentives and 90 percent marginal effects.

The group also draws attention to an excessive demand for “Swedishness” in the labour market, where qualified and capable people are given less opportunity than in many other countries.

Not least with regard to the public sector:

“There is a problematic fear of good, but broken, Swedish and many workplaces suffer from an international oxygen shortage.”

The article has been drafted and is signed by migration minister Tobias Billström, Stockholm social services secretary Ulf Kristersson and member of parliament Elisabeth Svantesson.