Migration in Sweden
Sweden has a relatively high level of immigration, with about 200 nationalities represented among its 9.6 million people. In 2010, 19.1 percent of residents had their roots outside Sweden. The largest foreign group is from Finland (170,000 people) but in recent years, immigrants have come mainly from Iraq, Somalia and Poland.
The Swedish Parliament and Government aim to have a migration policy that protects the right to asylum, facilitates freedom of movement across borders within the framework of regulated immigration, and promotes needs-based labor immigration.
Citizens of the European Union are entitled to live and work in Sweden without acquiring a work or residence permit. Dual citizenship has been permitted since the Swedish Citizenship Act came into effect in 2001.
Migratory patterns within the country have changed enormously over the past 100 years as Swedes left the countryside to work in urban centers. Today, about 84 percent of the Swedish population lives in urban areas compared with just 31 percent in 1900.
Of course Swedes also move abroad. An estimated 49,000 people emigrated from Sweden during 2010. More than half of those people were Swedish citizens, most of whom moved to Norway, followed by the UK and the US.
FARR, the Swedish Network of Asylum and Refugee Support Groups, offers help to asylum seekers coming to Sweden. With anti-immigrant parties slipping into European governments — including the Swedish parliament — many people feel that organizations like this are needed more than ever.
Curiosity is the most effective weapon against xenophobia, writes journalist and head of think tank FORES Martin Ådahl, as a comment on the Sweden Democrats’ future role in Swedish politics.