Immigration to Sweden

Immigration to Sweden is the process by which people migrate to Sweden to reside in the country.[2] Many, but not all, become Swedish citizens. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused some controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, violence, and voting behaviour.[3]

Source: Statistics Sweden 2018[1]

Sweden had very few immigrants in 1900 when the nationwide population totaled 5,100,814 inhabitants, of whom 35,627 individuals were foreign-born (0.7%). 21,496 of those foreign-born residents were from other Nordic countries, 8,531 people were from other European countries, 5,254 from North America, 90 from South America, 87 from Asia, 79 from Africa, and 59 from Oceania.[4]

As of 2010, 1.33 million people or 14.3% of the inhabitants of Sweden were foreign-born. Of these individuals, 859,000 (64.6%) were born outside the European Union and 477,000 (35.4%) were born in another EU member state.[5] Sweden has evolved from a nation of net emigration ending after World War I to a nation of net immigration from World War II onward. In 2013, immigration reached its highest level since records began, with 115,845 people migrating to Sweden while the total population grew by 88,971.[6][7] It continued to rise steadily the following years, followed by a clear peak in 2015, with just over 163,000 persons immigrating in total that year. 2017 saw a decrease, with nearly 144,500 individuals immigrating.[7] As of 2020, the percentage inhabitants with a foreign background in Sweden had risen to 25.9%. In 2020, population growth in Sweden was primarily driven by people with a foreign background, 98.8% (51,073 people) and persons with a Swedish background accounted for 1.2% (633 persons) of the population increase.[8] The official definition of foreign background (sv:utländsk bakgrund) comprises individuals either born abroad or having both parents born abroad.[9] In 2017, majorities in three municipalities had foreign backgrounds: Botkyrka (58.6%) Södertälje (53.0%) and Haparanda (51.7%).[9] Malmö, the third largest city of Sweden and Skåne county as a whole have taken in record numbers of immigrants fleeing conflict.[10]

In 2014, 81,300 individuals applied for asylum in Sweden, which was an increase of 50% compared to 2013 and the most since 1992. 47% of them came from Syria, followed by 21% from the Horn of Africa (mostly Somalia). 77% (63,000) requests were approved but it differs greatly between different groups. Nearly two weeks into October 2015, a record figure of 86,223 asylum applications was reached, and in the remaining weeks of the year that figure rose to 162,877. In 2016, 28,939 people applied for asylum,[11] after temporary border ID controls had been initiated and been in effect during 2016.[12] As of 2014, according to Statistics Sweden, there were around 17,000 total asylum immigrants from Syria, 10,000 from Iraq, 4,500 from Eritrea, 1,900 from Afghanistan, and 1,100 from Somalia.[13] In the year 2017, most asylum seekers come from Syria (267), Eritrea (263), Iraq (117), and Georgia (106).[14]

According to an official report by the governmental Swedish Pensions Agency, total immigration to Sweden for 2017 was expected to be roughly 180,000 individuals, and thereafter to number 110,000 persons every year.[15][16]

A high on demand is an investigation into if there reasons to believe that emigration is misused to seek for social welfare in the country. And that has called for an urgent need to tackle abuse of Welfare in Sweden, Folkhemmet, Swedish Migration Agency, segregation and the rise of right wing Swedish politics[17] and also imported Danish-Swedish extremism.[18] It is worrisome to see how, every now and then, the Swedish Law Enforcement authority is challenged by clan-based organized honor crimes and their own form of societal norms.[19]

In the report entitled, "Misuse of residence permits for studies," the Swedish Migration Agency has looked at a country specific group of people who applied for residence permits for studies in 2020, but were suspected to have different or ulterior political motives.[20]

Immigrants in Sweden are mostly concentrated in the urban areas of Svealand and Götaland. The largest foreign-born populations residing in Sweden come from Finland, Iraq, formerly Yugoslavian countries, Poland, Iran, and Syria.


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