Skip to content

Sweden and labour immigration debate


The ruling Social-Democratic party also supports the moderate’s proposals. As the Swedish government is receiving part of its study concerning labour immigration, Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, has among other things, stated that: 

This will have a very substantial effect on those here as labour immigrants and bring their families. A demand for sustentation (sufficiency) for two children and two adults up to 30 000 SEK per month, the current limit is at 13 000 SEK. 

At the same time, the current government cannot change any rules because the agreement between the government and its supporting liberal parties is to maintain the current system for labour immigration. 

LO also supports the proposal – The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, which historically has been one of the most vital parts of the Social-Democratic led labour movement. As a labour organisation, LO has a history of “labour union border policy” members making statements as “Swedish jobs for Swedish workers”.  LO:s ambition is to reduce the numbers of labour immigrants and to reinstate the labour market check meaning that the government will decide on the labour force. Support for Moderate’s proposal comes from Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats, who also want labour market trials to be performed by labour unions. 

Regarding Rehbinder’s article in Aftonbladet, Stenergard has responded via Afronbladet that “simplifications and sharp words” have been used to describe Moderate’s recent proposals and communication about labour immigration, especially regarding median wage.  Stenergard states that since 2008 Sweden has had extreme asylum immigration levels and that today many low-educated foreign-born people are unemployed.  

According to Stenergard, the 2008 legislation will be upheld and defended, but Sweden also has to do everything for the group of low-skilled foreign-born to become employed and that:

“Most people realise, therefore, that Sweden needs to become better to make use of the labour force based in Sweden so that more people can go from benefits to their sufficiency. Why should people come here from the other side of Earth to clean or wash dishes when the labour force exists in the same city.” 

Stenegard is also pointing out frauds, crime and misuse of people concerning low-wage professions. She points out that, for example, it-technicians and engineers that Timbro is pointing at are already earning more than the median wage Moderates are proposing. Together with a general benefit reform, Moderates conduct a “responsible bourgeois” politics that Sweden needs.  

Pontus Westerholm writes via conservative and Christian-right learning Smålandsposten that it is right to prevent unnecessary labour force. He argues that migration policy has to be changed so that Sweden can integrate all people living in social alienation and that Moderate’s change of views is a good start. 

He writes that the situation is different today, as with failed integration, when the liberal-conservative Alliance reformed the labour immigration system in 2008 that opened up to low-skilled labour force without any control if the deficit professions were manned. Westerholm argues that this led to one of the most open migration systems in the West that, through time, has become more used by fraudsters and unreliable actors. He also writes that what Moderates are proposing now is in line with what the Christian Democrats proposed one year ago. 

The business sector, Westerholm argues, would, of course, have preferred to import a low-paid labour force. Instead, Westerholm argues that companies should recruit and educate unqualified or low-skilled labour force in Sweden. Also, Westerholm argues that if the government does not want to lose trust in the migration question, the government will have to support labour immigration regulation. 

Lisa Pelling at the left-liberal and progressive Dagens Arena writes that Moderates and the government’s proposals for new labour immigration rules are sensible and logical. She also asks why such rules were not proposed before? 

According to Pelling, the government’s current proposal can lead to  “a better balance between employees and employers” (or job-takers and job-givers). She also refers to a historical case as when workers from Italy came to Sweden in 1947, they had to sign a contract with Swedish State’s Labour Market Commission that the Italien workers had to apply for membership in a Swedish labour union and be members during their working period in Sweden.

Pelling argues that the case of implementing “the ultra-liberal rules” led to “labour immigration steered by employers”. She writes that the rules from 2008 are based on demands for conditions and wages according to collective agreements but that it was impossible for both labour migrants and the Swedish state to control if these standards were respected, leading to fraud and explorations as a result. Pelling also argues that, sadly, Swedish labour unions have not represented the interests of labour immigrants because it was usually market-liberal organisations that were the first to favour labour migrants who witnessed misbehaviours and problems. Such organisations, argues Pelling, pointed out that the Migration Board bureaucrats were the problem and not unreliable employers. 

Anna Dahlberg, from daily Expressen, officially presenting itself as a liberal paper but often promoting protectionist views as on immigration, writes that “Almega-right” is closing their eyes to frauds in job immigration”. Among other things, Dahlberg referred to the green-left-progressive paper ETC article about how the restaurant chain called India Garden has been selling governmentmits for up to 100 000 SEK (around 10 000 Euros) and how former employees are witnessing “slavery conditions”. Dahlberg also refers to a overnment report, published by several agencies such as the Police and Public Employment Office. She also claims that the picture of labour immigration consisting of high-skilled and educated specialists is a myth by writing that: 

“A confusion of asylum and labour immigration is created when individuals without qualifications can be brought to Sweden by private employers or make a track-change in Sweden… The low-skilled immigration also contributes to public costs and displacing effects when simple jobs such as cleaning go to third-country citizens instead of the unemployed in Sweden.

Dahlberg writes that the proposals Moderates have made should be seen as something obvious in all political camps as in other Western countries. She also criticises the Almega report for being blind on “user import”, when it comes to personal assistants. Another point of Dahlber’s criticism is that the current labour immigration system means that relatives of labour immigrants can use different welfare services even if the labour immigrants are earning only around 13 000 SEK per month. She writes that there is no estimation regarding displacement effects and big problems with different employers’ criminal behaviour. 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *