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Press conference with the government parties and the Greens. Photo: Regeringen

Government and the Greens in "historic agreement" on migration policy

Politics | 2011-03-03 | 7 comments
The Government and the Green Party has made a comprehensive framework agreement on migration policies. Among other things, illegal immigrants shall be given the right to health care, schooling, and to run businesses. The cost is estimated to be SEK 1.7 billion.


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Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called the agreement historic.

"This gives us a long-term basis for a humane and orderly migration policy in accordance with the rule of law," he said at a press briefing on Thursday morning, according to news agency TT.

This is primarily a victory for the three smaller parties in the governing centre-right coalition,together with the Greens, while the Moderate Party (liberal conservative) has been forced to give up their previous stance of policy. This is also a way for the minority government to refuse the Sweden Democrats (anti-immigrant) influence of migration policies, and at the same time give the Social Democrats a swipe.

Traditionally, it has been the Moderates and the Social Democrats who have formed a majority about issues relating to Swedish asylum and refugee policy, while other parties have formed a joint opposition.

This time, the dominating Moderates can give something to there smaller coalition partners and at the same time both isolate the Sweden Democrats and and show that the Green Party is as good a partner for major policy agreements as the Social Democrats.

At the press conference, the outline of the framework agreement at times was unclear, and there was many references to future reports by government commissions, but what was mentioned was that the deal includes for illegal immigrants to be given the right to health care, schooling, and to run businesses.

There shall also be better possibilities of identification, for example with DNA, at family reunification. An independent Migration Research Institute is also in the pipe-line.

“We have made some changes in our position on the right to health care and education for people without permissions, and regarding to certain issues of family reunification,” Reinfeldt said.

The agreement stated that this change "has important implications for public finances", with costs of up to SEK 1.7 billion. But the figure is uncertain. For example, it is not known how many children of illegal immigrants who will start in kindergarten, primary or secondary school or how many people will seek medical and dental care.

It has been speculated that there are 3000 to 4000 children among the illegal immigrants in Sweden. A study on health care for illegal immigrants should be ready in May. Then there will be a proposal on which rules will apply.

“A step in a very wrong direction"

The reactions on the agreement from the other parties is mixed.

The leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, is deeply critical, he believes the agreement will open up for free immigration.

“It's a step in a very wrong direction. It sends a clear signal that they want to make extreme immigration policies even more extreme,” he tells newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Åkesson do not believe that illegal immigrants should have access to health care and schools.

"What is the purpose of seeking residence permits if you receive all the benefits when you live here illegally?"

The Social Democrats are critical of the idea that illegal immigrants should be allowed to start a business in Sweden.

“This partly leads to the legalization of undocumented migrants. And it can lead to problems, and human exploitation. And wage dumping," says the party migration policy spokesperson Fredrik Lundh Sammeli.

The leader of the Left Party, Lars Ohly, whose party never was invited to the negotiations, is disappointed with the Greens who he believes has not been able to changed the government's policies enough.

“The Greens now legitimize a policy that we in the opposition coalition before the last election said was inhumane and not in accordance with the rule of law. This agreement is worse in every aspect.”

Readers' comments

2011-03-16 12:24 sick country wrote:
whoever pays the tax are entitled to benefits, on the contrary should leave swedish winning model exist based on everyone´s contribution to the society and help each other, not destroying.
2011-03-10 16:38 Swede´s are crazy wrote:
Swedes are completely and utterly insane. I am going to move there and get free healthcare.
2011-03-08 20:13 Simon wrote:
This is just plain weird. Why not make them legal instead? Why not do something for those immigrants that have been granted asylum and still lead crappy lives?
2011-03-07 11:38 Inoue wrote:
It is a well-known political trick to ignore a problem, make it worse and give votes to the opposite party - SD. Then the government can say it was a decision made by the citizens - to give more power to SD - and their hands are tied. It is also known that people, after they realized what the party is really about, regret on their decision.
2011-03-07 07:24 Español wrote:
Goog news! Some Swedish people think normal, the world is one and we need inmigrants in europe, profesional or service, don`t forget no many years ago swedish was emmigrants because there the people have nothing for eat, can be heppend again...small brain John...
2011-03-04 15:16 nooneisillegal wrote:
It is good to have healthy people instead of sick people in society. It is good to give chance to illegal immigrants, who succeeded to make money even in so bad position, to start a business and make their position better in society (at least they will pay taxes when they make legal business and they will pay health insurance for themselves). Problem is: where to complain if immigrant didn´t get access to doctor? Medicine sisters (axes acute, Gothenburg) refuse asylum seekers.
2011-03-03 20:16 John wrote:
Repatriation is the answer.


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