Sweden has gained a reputation taking humanitarian responsibility for refugees. Now it seems those days could be over. June 21 the swedish Parliament will be voting to accept a proposition from the sitting government which will change everything - Sweden will be obeying the minimum requirements from the EU, but that’s all.
The proposition has gotten a lot of criticism from refugee organizations and authorities, among them the Migration Board itself. Nevertheless, everything points to the approval of the bill.
It’s all very complex. But the bill is basically about providing temporary residence permits instead of permanent ones. Refugees who have fled from war or persecution have previously had the chance to stay in Sweden indefinitely and work like anyone else etc.
The temporary permit that is suggested is for 3 years at its maximum. But Syrians and refugees from the same refugee group can only get a residence permit at a maximum of 1 year. A permit that can be prolonged one year at a time. The controversy is that Sweden is sending a signal to the world - we don’t want to/can’t accept any more people permanently.
So what will all this mean? One could fear that it would be hard for these people to motivate themselves learning Swedish and integrate into society if they only get temporary permits. Thus segregation could increase and the basic problems of the racism we see controlling the political agenda in Europe would become more severe.
If you are able to arrange for a permanent job, that can support the whole family, when you come to Sweden it’s possible to stay permanently. In addition it will also be very difficult for refugees to bring relatives here. Relatives who might be left back in Eritrea, in a hazardous refugee camp in Lebanon or in the war zone of Aleppo. In other words there is a great risk that families are divided, children are left without close family members and the elders are left behind when they aren’t physically capable to travel to Sweden illegally with the others in search of asylum.
This is far from the Swedish politics that we’re used to. One would think that it’s the right wing party Sverigedemokraterna that’s made the proposal. But no, it’s Socialdemokraterna (the Social Democrats) and Miljöpartiet (the Greens) who made it. The latter parties representative cried at the press conference in november when it was announced. (4)
But what good are tears to the most vulnerable people of the world?