Sweden’s center-Right government has launched an international information campaign that seeks to inform would-be immigrants and asylum seekers about the paradigm shift presently taking place in the country’s migration policy.
In a joint press conference delivered on Tuesday, January 25th, Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard (M) and Sweden Democrats’ group leader in the Riksdag, Henrik Vinge, announced that the information campaign’s primary goal was to inform those living abroad of the government’s desire and intention to reduce the influx of asylum seekers into the country, the state-run broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) reports.
“The main purpose is to inform people about Swedish migration policy and, ultimately, to reduce the number of people seeking to come here,” Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said, adding that the campaign aims to counter the widely-held perception that Sweden is “a subsidy country.”
“People are often well-informed and there is a reason why 163,000 people traveled across Europe to little cold Sweden in the north in 2015. It was because they knew there were more generous regulations,” she continued.
“Today, two-thirds of people who come to Europe have no grounds for protection. They put their lives in the hands of smugglers and will always be allowed to return. If they are informed of the rules, we reduce the risk of suffering for these people,” Ms. Malmer Stenergard emphasized.
“It’s about giving an account of exactly what Swedish migration policy looks like and will look like,” she continued, insisting that the government needs to “reach out more broadly about the new migration policy.
The campaign, she went on, will include “sending an information package to foreign offices and authorities with foreign contact points.” At the same time, “targeted information will also be sent to foreign editorial offices and news agencies,” she noted.
“This government was elected, among other things, on a mandate to create a paradigm shift in migration policy. This requires many major changes,” she reminded members of the press.
Sweden Democrat MP Henrik Vinge, for his part, stressed the importance of informing would-be asylum seekers that Sweden’s asylum policy, which was exceptionally generous under the left-liberal government, is no longer quite as generous.
“I think that the value of information is underestimated, both for people who might consider moving to Sweden and for those who work with this,” Vinge began. “Refugee smuggling is a multi-billion dollar industry. They have an interest in knowing where you can get protection and where it is most favorable to end up. So, it will not be a problem to reach out with the information, because so many people are interested in taking part in it.”
Also, during the press conference, the government detailed the policies they have thus far implemented to gain a handle on migration. The officials noted that the fight against illegal immigration has been expanded, while efforts to repatriate people staying in the country illegally have been revitalized.
Reacting to the government’s statements made at the press conference, Anders Ygeman, a Swedish politician of the Social Democrats who formerly served as a Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, was not particularly impressed, saying: “I don’t think it will have anything but a marginal significance on the asylum influx.”
Sweden, a country of only 10 million people, has witnessed an average of 121,000 immigrants arrive each year since 2016. As of 2021, 20% of its population was born overseas, per figures from Statistics Sweden.