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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

How would the Social Democrats change life for foreigners in Sweden?

Given that they've already been in power for nearly eight years, the Social Democrats are a known quantity. But their manifesto contains some policies that could significantly change life for foreigners in Sweden.

How would the Social Democrats change life for foreigners in Sweden?
Social Democrat party leader Magdalena Andersson unveils her party manifesto at a press conference in Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

The Social Democrats’ manifesto, Our Sweden can do better (Vårt Sverige kan bättre), is relatively thin on numbers and concrete proposals, at least compared to the Moderate Party’s policy-heavy offering, but it will still potentially change life for foreigners. 

How will foreigners hoping to move to Sweden be affected? 

The Social Democrat manifesto includes a pledge to bring back the old system of labour market testing system for work permits, which will mean that anyone working in a field or with skills where there is not considered to be a labour shortage in Sweden may find it difficult to get a work permit.

After the manifesto was published, Sweden’s immigration minister Anders Ygeman announced a plan to augment this with a salary threshold, limiting work permits to people earning more than 30,000 kronor a month. 

How will foreigners newly arrived in Sweden be affected? 

The Social Democrats plan to force municipalities to automatically enroll all three-year-olds in pre-school (dagis or förskola), in the hope that more families with foreign backgrounds send their children to preschools, reducing the change that children will arrive at primary school without speaking good enough Swedish. It will still be possible for families to opt out of sending their children to preschool, however. 

The party also plans to change the law so that asylum seekers can no longer choose which municipality they can live in. This is intended to prevent municipalities with large ethnic concentrations becoming a magnet for new arrivals, but will limit the options of those seeking residency in Sweden on asylum grounds. 

The party in general says it aims to reduce housing segregation, partly by building new rental apartments outside of immigrant-majority areas, and also by building attractive rental properties in immigrant-majority areas that will attract ethnic Swedes. 

How will foreigners hoping to stay in Sweden for the longer term be affected? 

In its manifesto, the party says it wants to bring in a language requirement for permanent residency, which will affect those living in Sweden on a work permit, or with temporary residency based on asylum, who want to stay permanently in the country. 

The party also plans to bring in a language requirement for health and elderly care workers, which may limit the job opportunities both for immigrants with nursing or medical backgrounds, or those seeking to work as low-skilled workers in elderly care, which has historically been one of the main entry points of new arrivals in Sweden to the work force. 

What other policies do the Social Democrats have in their manifesto?

Crime

The party wants to double punishments for crimes involving weapons, and criminalise gang membership
For every krona to extra police, it wants at least one more to be spent on crime prevention

Education 

Ban withdrawal of profits from state-funded free schools and ban new religious free schools
Increase teachers ability to intervene in rowdy classrooms

Elderly care 

New elderly care law to ensure same standards in all municipalities

Unemployment and sick pay 

Make higher insurance benefit (a-kassa) levels brought in during pandemic permanent
Change sick pay rules to make it fairer for those who cannot work from home

Transport and environment

Double number of electric car charging points by 2030

Free public transport for upper secondary (gymnasium) and uni students in the summer

Municipalities which accept wind farms to get financial support

Military 

Join Nato 

Increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2028

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2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

Sweden’s right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The four parties backing Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson as prime minister on Sunday announced that they had agreed to keep the current Speaker, Andreas Norlén in place, when the role is put to a vote as parliament opens on Monday.

Sweden's right-wing parties agree to bring back Norlén as Speaker 

The parties won a three-seat majority over the bloc led by the incumbent Social Democrats in Sweden’s general election on September 11th, and are currently in the middle of negotiating how they will form Sweden’s next government. 

Sweden’s parliament meets at 11am for the official installation of the 349 MPs for this mandate period. The votes for the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers are the first item on the agenda, after which the parties each select their parliamentary leaders and then vote on who should chair each of the parliamentary committees. 

READ ALSO: What happens next as parliament reopens? 

In a joint press release announcing the decision, the parties also agreed that the Sweden Democrats would be given eight of the 16 chairmanships the bloc will have of parliamentary committees in the next parliament, and that MPs for all four parties would back Julia Kronlid, the Sweden Democrats’ Second Deputy Leader, as the second deputy Speaker, serving under Norlén. 

In the press release, the parties said that Norlén had over the last four years shown that he has “the necessary personal qualities and qualifications which the role requires”. 

The decision to retain Norlén, who presided over the 134 days of talks and parliamentary votes that led to the January Agreement in 2019, was praised by Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson. 

Norlén, she said in a statement, had “managed his responsibilities well over the past four years and been a good representative of Sweden’s Riksdag.” 

The decision to appoint Kronlid was opposed by both the Left Party and the Green Party, who said that she supported tightening abortion legislation, and did not believe in evolution.

The Green Party’s joint leader Märta Stenevi said that her party “did not have confidence in Julia Kronlid”, pointing to an interview she gave in 2014 when she said she did not believe that humans were descended from apes.

The party has proposed its finance spokesperson Janine Alm Ericson as a rival candidate. 

The Left Party said it was planning to vote for the Centre Party’s candidate for the post second deputy Speaker in the hope of blocking Kronlid as a candidate.

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