Swedish Government Announces Latest Immigration Restriction Measures

On July 13, 2023, the Swedish government unveiled plans to tighten the requirements for family immigration. This is the latest attempt by Swedish authorities to make the Nordic country less of a magnet for asylum seekers from abroad and, more broadly, a less attractive destination for migrants from the Global South. 

These new immigration restriction measures received support from the right-wing nationalist Sweden Democrats party. The Sweden Democrats play a key role in keeping the country’s moderate coalition government intact. 

One of the most notable measures the government is promoting is an increase in the age for when the Swedish state can reject a residence permit for a spouse or common-law partner. The age in this case would be raised from 18 to 21 to prevent young migrant couples from entering the country and prevent forced marriages. 

“This corresponds to the highest age limit allowed under EU law,” declared Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard who asserted “a paradigm shift is now being implemented in Swedish migration policy.”

On top of that, the government put forward the idea of restricting the issuance of residence permits for humanitarian reasons, which would take away the possibility of the Swedish state granting permits to children and certain adults during fraught circumstances. 

“The proposal has the goal of reducing the number of asylum seekers who apply to enter Sweden, Sweden Democrats’ Party Secretary Bäckström Johansson  said to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. He subsequently said at a press conference that “the government and the Sweden Democrats continue to stand up for stricter migration legislation.”

The new Swedish government, which came to power in September 2022, has witnessed a right-ward shift largely propelled by anti-mass migration sentiment brewing in the city. The Sweden Democrats pledged to support the coalition government provided that some of their immigration restriction demands be taken into account by the Swedish coalition government. 

The Swedes are no longer joking. Once viewed as a bastion of political correctness and the excesses of the welfare state, Sweden appears to be going away from its soft image. Decades of mass migration from dysfunctional countries from the Global South have made many Swedes reconsider many of the assumptions surrounding mass migration. 

Naturally, as people witnessed their neighborhoods be demographically transformed via mass migration, they began asking tough questions. Moreover, they started to gravitate towards populist parties who vowed to get the immigration question sorted out. 

The Swedish case goes to show that even in the most leftist of jurisdictions, right-wing reforms are still possible. The key is that the Right read the room and campaign on popular issues such as immigration restriction.

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