Swedish government to launch anti-immigration information campaign

The announcement is the next step in the new coalition government’s plans to shift away from Sweden’s precedent of being welcoming to migrants.

The Swedish government has announced an international information campaign to dissuade migrants from coming to the country – another step away from its precedent of welcoming immigrants.

The announcement, reported by The Local Sweden, came during a Tuesday news conference where the government’s migration minister said the campaign will be targeted at foreign authorities through the media and word of mouth. The goal, Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said, is to make it so “fewer people will come” to Sweden, according to the outlet’s translation.

“If [migrants] receive information on which rules apply here,” she added, “we’ll reduce the risk of suffering for these people and can focus on those who actually need protection to a greater extent.”

Malmer Stenergard was joined by Henrik Vinge, the parliamentary group leader of the Sweden Democrats, a far-right political party that made big gains in the country’s September elections and, as a result, gathered more political influence. The party in October joined Sweden’s three other new governing parties – the Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Liberals – in releasing a coalition agreement that includes plans for wide-ranging migration law reforms, such as restricting family reunification and labour immigration.

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“Immigration to Sweden has been unsustainable,” Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, of the center-right Moderate Party, said in a statement delivered that month to the country’s legislative body, the Riksdag. “This government’s message is that this cannot continue. A paradigm shift is now taking place in Swedish migration policy.”

The officials referenced that paradigm shift – which could also include tighter rules for gaining Swedish citizenship, according to The Local Sweden – on Tuesday. Malmer Stenergard is set to co-chair an informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers later this week, which will include a discussion of “how to ensure an effective whole-of-government approach to meet migratory challenges.”

The information campaign is a natural next step in the process for the coalition government. Bernd Parusel, a senior researcher at the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, told U.S. News previously that the proposed measures carry a “signal effect” where Sweden could become “perceived as less welcoming – as more, perhaps, hostile to refugees.” The government has already proposed admitting a quota of only 900 total refugees in 2023, after allowing at least 5,000 each year since 2018, according to the Swedish Migration Agency. Parusel said in a Tuesday tweet that the announced campaign aims to “deter potential asylum seekers.”



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