Swedes don’t care about taxes but do worry about crime: poll

Sweden may have a reputation for high taxes but few Swedes worry over the matter and are much more likely to be fret over crime, a new study has shown.

Swedes don't care about taxes but do worry about crime: poll
A man filing his Swedish tax return online. Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

The survey from pollsters Ipsos looked at 25 countries around the world, and found that only nine percent in Sweden think taxes are one of the three most worrying topics in their country. That made Sweden the second least tax-anxious country of all the nations polled, with only Peru (five percent) less bothered.

READ ALSO: So Sweden has high taxes? Not as high as you might think

Perhaps not coincidentally, Sweden was also the country least worried about financial and political corruption, with only eight percent of citizens in the country responding that it was one of the three issues which concerned them most. That was well below the global average of 33 percent.

Other issues the poll found Swedes to be generally nonplussed about were inflation (Sweden was the country least concerned about the matter with one percent) and poverty/inequality (where Swedes showed the third lowest concern at 28 percent).

So what do Swedes fret over? According to the Ipsos study, the country’s biggest concern is crime and violence (42 percent).

The field work for the Ipsos poll was carried out between August and September 2016, and there were several high-profile crime stories in Sweden around that time period, including the death of a young boy due to a grenade blast at Gothenburg apartment, and a series of summer car fires in Malmö.

The second biggest concern Swedes registered in the study was over immigration control (33 percent), echoing the heightened discussion of the topic in the country since it received a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015.

The third biggest concern registered by Swedes was unemployment, somewhat surprising considering the country’s unemployment rate has been on a downward curve in recent years.

A final point of note was that Sweden was the European country in the study most worried about climate change, and the third most concerned about it in the world (joint with Australia).

The topic is an important one in green-keen Sweden, which recently set aside 1.8 billion kronor ($210 million) to initiatives focusing on the environment and climate change in its latest budget.  

For members


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.