New rule lets foreigners take common Swedish names

The Local Sweden
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New rule lets foreigners take common Swedish names
Female boxer Klara Svensson, singer Barbro Svensson and footballer Anders Svensson. Photo: TT

Swedes struggling due to their foreign-sounding names will be able to reinvent themselves as a Svensson, Olsson or Nilsson, Sweden’s tax agency has announced.


At present, those seeking to take a new name have to first get the approval of those others who already have the name, effectively ruling out all of the most common Swedish names. 
But from July 1 next year, anyone will be able to change their name to any surname already held by more 2,000 people. 
“I think is is great,” Ingegerd Widell, from the Swedish Tax Authority told Swedish broadcaster SVT.
“We will create a list of the most common surnames as we approach July next year. But you can already go to the Statistics Sweden website and check how many people in Sweden are called by a specific surname.” 
Widell said that the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV), which today shares the management of name changes with Sweden’s tax authority, has frequently received applications from people wanting to take a standard Swedish name. 
“We know that there is a demand for this,” she said. ”PRV has a lot of such applications today, and it is often about people who want to switch to a more Swedish name.” 
Swedes with Arabic or other foreign-sounding names have long complained of discrimination when applying for jobs in Sweden, and a string of studies have found that the complaints are justified. 
Researchers at Lund University discovered in 2013 that job applications from those with Swedish names were 50% more likely lead to an interview than those with Arabic names. 
A 2006 study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that Swedes with foreign names had to apply for three times as many jobs before finding employment as those with Swedish names. 
According to Sweden's tax authority Skatteverket, the most common Swedish surnames of people registered in 2015 were:
1. Andersson
2. Johansson
3. Karlsson
4. Nilsson
5. Eriksson ¨
6. Larsson
7. Olsson
8. Persson
9. Svensson
10. Gustafsson


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