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Migrants will be required to speak Swedish to become citizens under new laws

Migrants entering Sweden will be required to speak Swedish in order to become citizens under new laws the country is expected to introduce this summer.

A bill has now been submitted by Sweden’s centre-left government after proposals were drawn up in January this year.

Under the new laws, anyone seeking permanent residency in the Scandinavian country will be required to prove that they can speak the language, as well as prove that they can support themselves while living in the country.

‘We think that a basic knowledge of Swedish and knowledge of society is a reasonable demand to make,’ said the country’s Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, according to The Daily Telegraph. 

Migrants entering Sweden will be required to speak Swedish in order to become citizens under new laws the country is expected to introduce this summer. Pictured: Swedish Police Evict Migrants From an illegal camp in Malmo, Sweden, November 3, 2015

Migrants entering Sweden will be required to speak Swedish in order to become citizens under new laws the country is expected to introduce this summer. Pictured: Swedish Police Evict Migrants From an illegal camp in Malmo, Sweden, November 3, 2015

Sweden opened its doors to thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in 2015 but has since been rocked by a surge in gang violence, bombings, shootings and sex attacks that has caused unrest. 

Johansson said the new policy has been designed to be tougher than the legislation that was in place before the 2015 migrant crisis, that saw 160,000 people seeking asylum in the country – more per-head than any other country in Europe.

‘This means that we will be in line with other EU countries, which among other things will mean that Sweden is no longer a magnet for asylum seekers as we were during the refugee crisis in 2015,’ he said, according to the newspaper. 

The bill has been proposed by Sweden’s ruling minority coalition. This is made up of the leading centre-left Swedish Democrats who are in alliance with the Greens.

The law will make some of the restrictive measures in place in temporary emergency legislation – that was brought in at the height of the crisis – permanent.

One of the more controversial measure sis that successful asylum seekers will not be granted permanent residency by default, and instead will have to wait three ears to meet a list of requirements before applying for citizenship. 

Migrants will have to show proof of Swedish language skills and understanding of the country's culture in order to become citizens. Pictured: The Swedish and EU flags fly in front of the Swedish Parliament on April 16, 2020 in Stockholm

Migrants will have to show proof of Swedish language skills and understanding of the country's culture in order to become citizens. Pictured: The Swedish and EU flags fly in front of the Swedish Parliament on April 16, 2020 in Stockholm

Migrants will have to show proof of Swedish language skills and understanding of the country’s culture in order to become citizens. Pictured: The Swedish and EU flags fly in front of the Swedish Parliament on April 16, 2020 in Stockholm

Morgan Johansson (left), Sweden's justice and migration minister is behind the proposals that will require migrants to learn Swedish languages skills in order to attain permanent residence

Morgan Johansson (left), Sweden's justice and migration minister is behind the proposals that will require migrants to learn Swedish languages skills in order to attain permanent residence

Morgan Johansson (left), Sweden’s justice and migration minister is behind the proposals that will require migrants to learn Swedish languages skills in order to attain permanent residence

Talks over the new legislation have led to disagreements within the minority coalition, with the minority Liberal party threatening in February to pull out of the inter-party agreement that props up the ruling coalition.

Their threat to leave was due to a mercy clause – that was added to placate the pro-immigration mercy clause – which would mean permanent residency can be considered in specific circumstances.

These include ‘especially distressing circumstances’, for children, and adults who have temporary residency and have developed a ‘special attachment’ to the country, even if they do not otherwise meet the criteria. 

Following the publication of the bill, the centre-Right moderate party complained saying the mercy clause was ‘an effective amnesty’ for the child asylum seekers from Afghanistan who came to Sweden in 2015.

On that basis, the Right-wing populist Sweden Democrats said it would campaign for the new law to be ‘ripped up’.

The language tests – in which applicants will have to prove their speaking, listening, reading and writing levels – cost 2,000 kronor (£175), while the civil component costs 500 kronor (£45). 

Pictured: Romany immigrants gather in Sergels Torg public square near Stockholm Central Station. Sweden opened its doors to thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in 2015 but has since been rocked by a surge in gang violence, bombings, shootings and sex attacks that has caused unrest. There has also been a rise in far-Right attacks

Pictured: Romany immigrants gather in Sergels Torg public square near Stockholm Central Station. Sweden opened its doors to thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in 2015 but has since been rocked by a surge in gang violence, bombings, shootings and sex attacks that has caused unrest. There has also been a rise in far-Right attacks

Pictured: Romany immigrants gather in Sergels Torg public square near Stockholm Central Station. Sweden opened its doors to thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in 2015 but has since been rocked by a surge in gang violence, bombings, shootings and sex attacks that has caused unrest. There has also been a rise in far-Right attacks

Applicants can also provide proof of citizenship by passing Grade 9 in a Swedish high school, equivalent to Year 11 in the UK. 

Stateless, disabled and illiterate people have to show they have tried to reach the required level even if they are unsuccessful.  

Other Nordic citizens will not have to take the test as they do not need to apply for citizenship, The Local reported earlier this year.   

It is expected that the bill will be put to parliament and come into force before the summer. 

Sweden opened its doors to thousands of migrants flooding into Europe in 2015 but has since been rocked by a surge in gang violence, bombings, shootings and sex attacks that has caused unrest.  

As a result the country has seen growing support for far-right anti-migrant parties, which the Social Democratic Party is hoping to stem by shifting to the right itself.

The country saw 257 bombings and more than 300 shootings reported in 2019, and there has also been a rise in far-right attacks and the resurgence of the former white nationalist group Sweden Democrats, now the third biggest party in government.

Sweden's approach to immigration has divided opinion in the country and led to a rise in the far-right and the resurgence of the former white nationalist group Sweden Democrats, now the third biggest party in government

Sweden's approach to immigration has divided opinion in the country and led to a rise in the far-right and the resurgence of the former white nationalist group Sweden Democrats, now the third biggest party in government

Sweden’s approach to immigration has divided opinion in the country and led to a rise in the far-right and the resurgence of the former white nationalist group Sweden Democrats, now the third biggest party in government

A recent controversial case saw a Swedish judge refusing to deport two Eritrean nationals who were convicted of aggravated rape because the pair were military deserters who would face punishment on their return.

The men, aged 30 and 32, were convicted in a Stockholm court of raping the woman for hours in an apartment in the city while threatening her with a knife. 

The pair have been living in Sweden for several years and have been granted refugee status by the government. 

If returned, the UN warned the deserters faced arbitrary detention, extrajudicial punishment and conscription that amounts to forced labour. 

Sweden has also been struggling to control criminal gangs from the Middle East.

Erik Nord, Gothenburg’s chief of police, told MailOnline in January: ‘These criminal clans have a completely different culture that makes them very difficult to tackle with normal police methods.

‘We need more police and our courts and prisons need to be reinforced to deal with this situation urgently. Otherwise we will turn into a gangsters’ paradise.’


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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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