Majority of Swedes disapprove gov’t immigrant integration policies
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 17, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 17, 2015 12:00 am
In the face of rising number of immigrants, around 60 percent of Swedes express fears about low level of immigrant integration into society due to failed policies of the Swedish government
The Swedish government's strategy has failed to integrate immigrants into European society, while only fuelling anti-Islamic, anti-foreign sentiments in European society, a survey by pollsters Ipsos commissioned by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter revealed. For a clear majority of Swedes, the rising number of immigrants is not an issue, but government efforts to integrate immigrants into society has been widely criticized. As the survey underlines, the Swedish public is of the opinion that many immigrants in Sweden end up segregated or isolated from other Swedes, and many of them suffer from problems with housing, jobs and education.
Another point is that poor integrationist policies are helping to fuel anti-Muslim and xenophobic sentiments in Swedish society, as the poll revealed. Sweden's open door policy for immigrants is now suffering from rising Islamophobia, as it has become more apparent in everyday life in Swedish society.
When it comes to integration and immigration, Sweden is very well known for its long history of tolerance and open policies to immigrants mostly coming from Middle East and Asia. "During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, many people came to Sweden to work from Finland, southern Europe and Turkey. Since the 1970s, Sweden has received refugees, first from Latin America and East Asia, and subsequently more from the Middle East and Africa. Since Sweden's membership of the EU in 1995, immigration from the rest of the EU and the EEA countries has increased," the Swedish Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality stated in a report on immigrant integration on December 2009.
The Swedish Migration board suggested that "the number of asylum-seekers in Sweden will continue to be at high levels in 2015." "The overall assessment of the Migration Board is that the number of asylum-seekers remains similar to the last forecast, i.e. 80,000 to 105,000 in 2015. The main scenario is 90,000, and the variations during the course of the year are expected to be very large, as they were last year. In 2014, approximately 81,000 asylum seekers came to Sweden."
Regarding the large number of asylum-seekers who are expected to come to Sweden, Swedish authorities underscored the urgent need for additional accommodation and the limited capacity of authorities to cut the long processing time. "Our capacity to investigate and examine an application for asylum is being increased as quickly as possible, with a focus on maintaining quality," says Anders Danielsson, director-general of the Migration Board in response to growing criticism over the government's ineffective integrationist efforts.
As calls to curb immigration from Muslim countries have recently increased, especially after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, immigration to European countries has been continuing unabatedly. According to the latest reports, 8.2 million immigrants who now represent about a 10th of Germany's population are currently residing in Germany. Considering the influx of immigrants from EU and non-EU countries, Syrians are the largest nationality in the non-EU category, as the number of Syrian immigrants who fled violence doubled to 61,300.
Europe is experiencing a remarkable change, as anger, hatred and intolerance have penetrated European society. The current Islamophobic trend in European countries has left many Muslims vulnerable to violent attacks as the integrationist policies of European governments regarding the Muslim community may further spur extremism, while failing to integrate them into the society.
Apart from Sweden, Denmark, a European country hit by anti-immigration sentiment, has also failed to integrate refugees into Danish society, a study from the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA) revealed. The report found that three out of four refugees who came to Denmark in the early 2000s are still unemployed, while revealing the great extent of social exclusion of immigrants in the country.