Sweden had been one of the top refugee intake countries in the world, accepting 160,000 asylum-seekers last year despite only having a population of 9.5 million.
But on Tuesday the country overwhelmingly passed a series of tough new restrictions that will limit the number of people granted permanent residency and make it harder for migrants to bring family members over.
A New York Times report says Sweden viewed the restrictions as “necessary to prevent the country from becoming overstretched”:
The government said that under the new rules, individuals who want to bring over family members but do not apply to do so within three months of arriving in Sweden, would have to prove they can financially support them; current regulations require sponsors to demonstrate only that they can support themselves. Permanent residency for asylum-seekers under the age of 25 would be restricted to those who have completed high school and can support themselves. (emphasis mine)
People who are formally granted refugee status would be able to bring over family members from abroad, but the legislation would circumscribe the family members who are eligible.
The new rules clearly have an emphasis on migrants being financially independent enough that they can support themselves and contribute to society.
Of course, human rights groups have already jumped on Sweden, denouncing the move as harmful to children, according to the New York Time. Protesters have gathered outside of Parliament declaring it “inhumane,” says the Associated Press.
Is a sovereign nation not permitted to decide who does and does not enter their borders?
Kudos to the Swedish lawmakers for finally paying attention to their citizens who have been negatively affected by Sweden’s past extremely liberal refugee policies. Better late than never. (For more from the author of “Burned by Liberal Refugee Policies, Sweden Now Wises Up” please click HERE)