The Immigration Issue


Facts First:   Modern Immigration in Sweden can be divided into 4 stages:

1) Refugees from neighboring countries (1938 to 1948)

2) Labor immigration from Finland and southern Europe (1949 to 1971)

3) Family reunification and refugees from developing countries (1972 to 1989)

4) Asylum seekers from southeastern and Eastern Europe (1990 to present) and the free movement of EU citizens within the European Union.

In 1960 4% of the permanent resident population of Sweden was foreign born.  In 2004 it was 12.2%

The current flow of immigration is mainly asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Turkish Kurdistan in the Middle East.   (Hmm, guess why?  I have been told that the USA is, in large part, responsible for the number of immigrants from the Middle East.)

This information was taken from an article; Sweden: Restrictive Immigration Policy and Multiculturalism/By Charles Westin/Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations/Stockholm University

Observations:  In 1984 when I was here the first time, there were undercurrents of concern over the number of immigrants in Sweden.  Today, well, Sweden is a funny place.  People have strong opinions are but are afraid to voice them in case they are perceived as racist.  Discussion on the topic is perceived as racist.  (Yikes!  This column most likely will be seen as racist!) National pride (what might be called patriotism in the USA) in Sweden is not to be flaunted for fear that it will be seen as anti-others.  Both Kurt and I have instigated conversations with Swedes on this topic. (We seem to get away with being nosy..)   Kurt with his co-workers and I with the young adults in the some of the classrooms I have been in.

A conversation with Kurt’s co-worker led us to a Fox video from Malmo in southern Sweden. You can see see it at:

The problems mentioned in the video appear to be taking place in larger cities, such as Stockholm and Gothenberg, where many of the new immigrants are settling. Imagine a large city with a line of smaller suburbs stretching away from it.  In Stockholm, the town itself is “Swedish” and the next few suburbs are mostly Swedes with a few immigrants who have been here for years.  The further you travel out the ratio changes until its mostly new immigrants.  The accepted word used to describe the outer layers is “ghetto.”  Arvika has immigrants many who have been here for many years and appear to be a contributing part of Arvika.  Concerns expressed by Swedes here are for what is happening somewhere else, like Stockholm.  One young Iraqi woman I talked to was born in Sweden and has a Swedish boy friend who lives in one of the “ghettos” in Stockholm.  He has been beat up before and she said that when she is with him there, they have to be careful to not appear like boyfriend and girlfriend because she is afraid that he will be beat up again.  Her mother wants her to marry a Swede, because she believes that the Swedes do not treat their wives with violence. Another young woman, from Azerbaijan, who immigrated here in 1990, has been told that she will need to marry someone in her own nationality. 

The next 20 years is going to be interesting for Sweden and Europe.  Hate groups are on the rise.  Will Sweden change their immigrations laws?  What will it mean to be Swedish?  Will Sweden become the epi center of radical Islam? 


One Response to “The Immigration Issue”

  1. Snaphanen Says:

    Hi, some fresh statistics:

    SCB.SE Befolkningsstatistik i sammandrag

    1) Utrikes födda 1. 227. 770 (andelen i % 13,4)

    2) Inrikes födda m två utr. födda föräldrar 364. 606 ( Andel i % 17,3)

    3) Utländska medborgare 524.488 (5,7%). ialt 2.2 millioner

    ( 1 = born abroad 2= born in Sweden with two foreign parents 3 Foreign citizens)

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