Sweden gets tougher on immigrating parents

Sweden gets tougher on immigrating parents
The new rules will also apply for Swedes returning to the country with young children. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell / TT file picture
Sweden is set to tighten its rules on parental leave benefits for immigrating parents by capping the period for which they can claim the pay-outs.

The proposal partly comes on the back of the government wanting newly arrived parents to join the Swedish labour market at a faster rate.

According to the new rules, parents who arrive in Sweden between their child’s first and second birthday will only be able to claim the benefits for a maximum of 200 days, while those arriving after their child’s second birthday will be restricted to 100 days of pay-outs.

Sweden's current system of parental leave gives parents 480 days of paid leave per child.

Social Affairs Minister Annika Strandhäll said the change would mean that parents who arrive in Sweden would no longer receive an “over-compensation” when it comes to parental leave.

“Both children and parents will now be on more equal terms with Swedish parents and children,” she said, adding it was an important piece of the puzzle to integrate new Swedes better.

The new rules are set cover all parents arriving in Sweden after July 1, 2017, but could be extended to cover also those who arrived during, and after, the second half of 2015. The rules will not apply for those who have adopted a child.

Lars Arrhenius, one of the researchers behind the proposal which was presented Friday, said the change would also be of benefit to the children arriving in Sweden with their parents.  

“The children are given the opportunity to spend the same amount of time with their parents as other [Swedish] children. They’re also given the opportunity to start pre-school [earlier], which is positive for the child.