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IMMIGRATION

Fifth of Swedish population foreign

Latest figures from Statistics Sweden reveal that in the last 50 years the number of foreigners living in Sweden or those with two foreign-born parents has risen from four to nearly 20 percent.

Fifth of Swedish population foreign

A new report from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån, SCB) reveals there are around 1.6 million foreigners currently residing in the country from a total population of 9.3 million.

Annika Klinterfeldt, SCB population analyst told The Local the numbers are not surprising, with the total now surpassing 17 percent and edging ever closer to the 20 percent mark.

“If we look at the trend over the last 50 years we can see growth in number of between 0.1-0.2 percent every year.

“Back in 1960, foreigners or those with two foreign-born parents made up four percent of the population. It’s been quite high for the last few years and we expect it to continue,” she added.

Those included in the figures are defined by having lived in Sweden for one year or more, although they do not have to be Swedish citizens.

Statistics Sweden does not differentiate between immigrants who have come to Sweden for asylum reasons and others who have moved here for love or work.

Finland has historically dominated the number of foreign settlers in Sweden and tops the table with 256,975 Finns residing across the border today.

Within Europe, Poland’s accession to the EU prompted a highly-publicised exodus from the country and a total of 78,522 Poles currently live in Sweden, the most represented country among the 27 EU nations.

There are 59,852 Germans who have adopted Sweden as home along with 22,416 from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Included in the Asian category, but not subdivided in the yearly report, are 142,053 Iraqis, 75,175 Iranians, 44,415 Lebanese, 35,886 Syrians, 27,552 Thais, 21,322 Chinese, 20,111 Vietnamese, 18 534 Indians, 14,292 Afghans, 9,818 Filipinos, 10,831 Koreans (North and South), and 10,823 Pakistanis.

Africans make up 48,710 of the total, with South Americans accounting for 29,689.

North America is represented by 33,222 people, with 17,540 of those coming from the US.

Australia and New Zealand are combined in the Oceania category of the report, represented by 4,214 people who have presently swapped sunnier climes for the Swedish winter.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question. 

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