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Moderates pledge to uphold job security law

The Moderate Party has pledged to uphold Sweden's generous employment security laws (Lagen om anställningsskydd, LAS), despite its Alliance partners' wishes to make fundamental reforms.

Moderates pledge to uphold job security law

The party rejected proposals from the Centre and Liberal parties to axe the law forcing companies to run a ‘last in, first out’ policy when making redundancies. But the party did propose to increase the standard legal probation period at a job from six months to a year.

The crack in the centre-right alliance on the issue of labour law was underlined on Friday when Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Moderate colleague, Finance Minister Anders Borg, jointly presented their party’s new policies on the issue.

The best thing for the national economy is to maintain the Swedish model of high job security, they said.

“We have examined the reform proposals and scrutinized how their outcomes. A very big change in a person’s security results in a relatively small change in GDP,” Borg said, while Reinfeldt nodded, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported.

As such, the Moderates would not change the current priority rules in the law relating to employment security, which both the Centre and Liberal Parties support.

Reinfeldt’s ‘New Moderates’ have been consistently careful not to pick fights with the Social Democrat-supporting unions on the issue of labour law. Reinfeldt and Borg made clear the party line will not change even if the other centre-right parties press for change.

“Safeguarding the Swedish model” was the title of the presentation Reinfeldt and Borg held for journalists on Friday at Moderate Party headquarters in Gamla Stan.

The prime minister, bolstered by new poll numbers from Demoskop showing both the Alliance ahead of the red-green coalition and the Moderates beating the Social Democrats, said the Moderates “will be well prepared” to give the other government parties a hearing.

“We do not want to change the priority rules,” said Borg. “It’s employability that is crucial. We do not want to increase insecurity on the labour market.”

The only shortcoming that needs attention, according to Reinfeldt, is the difficulty young people have in entering the labour market.

“Extending the probationary period has a bit more impact,” said Borg. “The point is to broaden the employability of young people.”

The Moderates also want to develop a so-called apprenticeship contract. Furthermore, the party hopes that the employers’ costs against termination disputes should be investigated and strengthen the National Mediation Office (Medlingsinstitutet).

The Social Democrats believe that the changes the Moderates now propose undermine the security of the labour market. The party’s labour market political spokesperson Sven-Erik Österberg called it “yet another attack on the Swedish model.”

“Now the government wants to extend the probationary period further, from six to 12 months. The government is deliberately increasing the gaps so that Swedish people will suffer a reduction in salary. It is the wrong way to go. Those who work need more – not less – protection,” he said in a statement.

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

How would the Moderate Party change life for foreigners in Sweden?

The Moderate Party's election manifesto is the longest of all Sweden's eight political parties, and is positively crammed with policy proposals. Here are the ones that affect foreigners in Sweden.

How would the Moderate Party change life for foreigners in Sweden?

You can read the whole manifesto, This is how we bring order back to Sweden (Så får vi ordning på Sverige), here.

How will foreigners hoping to move to Sweden be affected? 

It would definitely get more difficult, with the Moderates planning to reduce asylum migration “the same levels as Denmark and Norway”, which given how hard it has become to get asylum in Denmark should mean quite a substantial tightening of migration rules. 

The party is promising to tighten up asylum laws to minimum level allowed under EU rules, roughly matching the proposals made by the populist Sweden Democrats on Wednesday. 

The party is also pledging to abolish the current spårbyte or “track change” system, which allows those who claim asylum in Sweden and get rejected to instead apply for a work permit.

How will foreigners newly arrived in Sweden be affected? 

Once foreigners have arrived in Sweden, the Moderates are proposing making it much more difficult for them to access financial support from the government. 

The party is pledging to demand that newly arrived immigrants be denied unemployment payments and other benefits until they have qualified for them by working and paying a certain amount of tax. 

The party also proposes to punish immigrants who fail to meet the ‘individual knowledge goals’ set by their Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) teachers by stripping away part of their benefits payments. 

In the manifesto, it says that all “newly arrived” immigrants, or nyanlända, will have to go through mandatory “community orientation” or samhällsorientering, which will focus on Swedish values, with a section on LGBT rights and gender equality. Elsewhere, the party has said this is only for asylum seekers, so it may be that this does not apply to all immigrants. 

Passing a test on Swedish culture and society will be essential for those applying for citizenship. 

The party is also demanding that foreigners wanting to obtain a coordination number appear in person. 

How will foreigners with families be affected? 

Asylum seekers who come to Sweden will have to go through a mandatory process of “honour crime screening” to make sure they do not limit the freedom of or otherwise oppress family members for religious or cultural reasons. 

If they do, they risk falling foul of a new crime, “illegal limiting of freedom”, which the party hopes to bring in during the next mandate period. 

Foreigners with three-year-old children will have to send them for a language screening to make sure that they speak adequate Swedish, and if they don’t, the three-year-olds may be sent to a mandatory ‘language kindergarten’. 

Foreigners who are worried about having their children taken into care by Swedish social services (as some are) will probably have additional cause for concern. The manifesto promises to “make sure that more [people, children] are taken into care under LVU (Lagen om Vård av Unga)”. This is the law under which social services can take children into care.  

“Children who grow up in criminal clans”, will also automatically be taken into care under the party’s proposals, while the “clan members” themselves will be deported. 

Foreigners with big families could also take a hit from the proposal to remove extra child benefit, flerbarnstillägg, after a family’s fourth child. 

How will unemployed foreigners be affected? 

Foreigners who are unemployed look likely to have a tougher time, as the Moderates propose bringing in a “welfare cap”, so that the total amount of welfare payments a person gets can never exceed what they would earn in a job. 

The party also proposes allowing raids on the houses of people living on benefits “to find malpractices”. 

The party also proposes a “full time activity requirement”, for anyone getting government support, meaning benefits recipients must be either studying full time, applying for jobs full time, or else carrying out useful tasks organised in their local area. 

How will those living in Sweden on work permits be affected? 

The party has promised to “stop talent deportations”, or kompetensutvisningar, but does not give any details over how this will be done. 

How will foreigners wanting to live in Sweden permanently be affected? 

The party wants to bring in language requirements for permanent residency and citizenship. 

It also wants to make passing a test on Swedish culture and society mandatory for those applying for citizenship. 

How will foreigners who get into trouble with the police be affected? 

Anyone holding foreign citizenship in addition to or instead of Swedish citizenship risks becoming a second-class citizen under the law in the Moderates’ proposals. 

The party is proposing to deport anyone with foreign citizenship who commits a crime that comes with a prison sentence. 

Foreigners might want to be careful who they hang out with, as any suspected gang members who aren’t Swedish citizens will be deported, “even if they are not found guilty of a crime”.

Anyone without Swedish citizenship who commits an honour crime, presumably including the new crime of “illegal limiting of freedom”, can be deported. 

How might the Moderate Party improve foreigners’ finances? 

The manifesto is chock full of proposals to cut taxes and help ward off the worst impact of the current cost of living crisis. 

The party is promising to cut income tax, although it doesn’t say by how much, and to create a system that adds up tax rises and tax cuts to ensure that the overall tax burden does not increase over the mandate period. 

Foreigners with share portfolios will benefit from the party’s proposals to cut the tax on ISK individual share accounts (Sweden’s version of an ISA). 

The party is also promising to cut the price of petrol and diesel and to bring in “high cost protection” for electricity prices, meaning consumers’ electricity bills will be subsidised by the government if the power price rises above a certain level.

How might the Moderate Party help foreigners who own businesses? 

The party is rather ambitiously promising to remove “three quarters of red tape and admin costs” for companies, which, if you believe it is possible, will certainly help foreign business owners. 

What else do they want to do? 

Here are some of the other proposals we picked out of the document: 

  • Allow shop owners to bar unwanted customers 
  • Create a ‘job bonus’ for long term unemployed who get a job
  • Cut tax for pensioners, and bring in a system which gives pensioners extra money during periods of strong economic growth
  • Remove tax on incinerators generating heat and power 
  • Increase punishment for welfare fraud and set up a welfare fraud unit at Sweden’s benefits agency
  • Stop paying out benefits to extremists
  • Allow police and social services to share more information 
  • Set up a national programme to help people leave criminal gangs
  • Increase punishment for violent and sexual crimes
  • Get rid of reduced punishments for under-18s, and those committing multiple crimes 
  • Make sure there are 10,000 more police by 2028 
  • Spend more on police salaries, and pay off student loans from those who study to be police officers when they start work 
  • Increase number of CCTV cameras
  • Make membership of a criminal gang a crime
  • Double punishments for gang members 
  • Triple minimum punishment for weapons crimes to six years 
  • Stop all welfare payments to gang members 
  • Seize luxury goods held by gang members if they can’t show how they paid for them
  • Allow long-term use of electronic ankle bracelets for persistent criminals
  • Automatic life sentence for murders in close family relations 
  • Consider setting up youth prisons and reduce age where you can be punished 
  • Change long-term goal of energy policy from 100 percent renewable to 100 percent fossil free 
  • Change regulation of nuclear power, removing requirement reactors can only be built on site of existing ones
  • Tell Sweden’s state-owned power company Vattenfall to look into building new reactor at Ringhals
  • Bring in green credit guarantees for new nuclear, bring in state high-cost guarantee for new nuclear 
  • Reduce the amount of protected woodland that can’t be used for forestry
  • Sell “a large share” of state-owned forest to people connected to local areas 
  • Extra schooling in holidays for children who fall behind 
  • Instruct Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention to survey criminal clans in Sweden 
  • Criminalise clan courts and other parallel justice systems 
  • Ban cousin marriage 
  • Establish special “criminal clan division” within Swedish police
  • Increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2025 
  • Scrap Sweden’s goal that aid spending should be 1 percent of GDP 
  • Strengthen healthcare guarantee for cancer patients, allowing them to get treated in other regions 
  • Work towards a constitutional right to abortion 
  • Make sure pregnant women can have same team of midwives from early pregnancy to post pregnancy 
  • Language requirement for those working in health and elderly care
  • Increase school hours by an hour a day in first three years of primary school 
  • Focus on measurable factual knowledge in schools like Finland does 
  • Reduce requirement for teachers to document their activities 
  • Empower headteachers to intervene when classrooms get rowdy 
  • Bring in new crime of “violence against teachers” 
  • Make it obligatory for everyone to choose a school for their children 
  • Give Swedish Schools Inspectorate power to shut schools which lead to segregation and radicalisation 
  • Create a common municipal queue system which includes free schools
  • Scrap plans for high-speed rail 
  • Expand Arlanda airport to make it leading airport in the north 
  • Get rid of protection of coastal areas so new houses can be built on beaches and lakesides 
  • Tighten up responsibility for public officials 
  • Make LGBT and gender equality a crucial part of community orientation 
  • Bring in a “national honour-crime screening” for all asylum seekers 
  • Criminalise virginity tests 
  • Permit unpaid surrogacy in Sweden
  • End limits on blood donation for gay people
  • Ban conversion therapy to change sexual or gender identity 
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