This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Protection and asylum in Sweden

"This is information for those who have sought asylum in Sweden. You can read more about what happens after you hand in an asylum application and when you have received your decision. This is also where you can find out more about your rights as an asylum-seeker, in terms of work, housing, health and medical care and financial support."
The Swedish Migration Agency logotype

"We note that the current refugee situation is unprecedented in modern times. We see pictures of people literally walking from Greece, across the Balkans and Germany and towards the Nordic countries. More people than ever are seeking asylum in Europe, but there is no border control and no exact figure."
"Last night all our places were full."
Anders Danielsson, director general, Swedish Migration Agency
"[It is more important than ever for other European Union countries to take in more refugees]. "So far we have managed to give these people roofs over their heads ... but it is easy to look at this and draw the conclusion that it is not sustainable for Sweden if it continues."
Sweden's Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson (October)

"If we manage to improve the reception and speed up the establishment of the newly arrived, we could be the country in Europe that can meet the demographic challenge of an aging population, with a smile."
Employment Minister Elva Johansson (September)

"Clearly, the budget shortfall is going to be bigger this year than in our most recent forecast. It is going to take longer for us to get back to balanced public finances. It is also going to mean that we are going to need to borrow money."
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson 
Refugees, mainly from Syria, prepare to board a train headed for Sweden, at Padborg station in southern Denmark, Sept. 10, 2015. Reuters/Claus Fisker

Sweden is willing to take in refugees and haven-seekers. More than willing, evidently regarding it to be a humanitarian obligation that it do so. Reflecting Germany's stance, in that sense. And both are being overwhelmed with the unending tide of genuine refugees and economic-migrant opportunists who spurn the unpalatable opportunities to stay behind in other European countries whose borders they have crossed, for they target their future in Germany or Sweden.

Denmark, among other countries, has pretty well closed up its welcome-to-Denmark shop, and Sweden, as a result, speaks rather disparagingly of its Scandinavian neighbour. As it is, Denmark is facing the unanticipated reality of having already been inundated with immigrants from countries where Islamist administrations and oppression has convinced Muslims to find their fortunes elsewhere. And in so doing, Denmark is not enamored of the result.

This is a costly endeavour, the tide of migrants is overwhelming Europe, and certainly doing so to the two countries along with Austria which have not stinted on accepting whoever crosses their borders. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions has announced municipalities will be required to increase the tax rate by two percent; each household in Sweden will now be assessed to pay an additional $2,400 in an attempt to cope with the costs related to resettlement.

This increased tax will aid in the spiralling costs of servicing refugees who require food, housing and health care. As an example, the municipality of Trelleborg in south Sweden, with a population of 43,000 received over 14,000 asylum seekers within a period of 20 days; understandably it is overwhelmed: "there is no capacity" to cope. They receive over 100 unaccompanied children and young people daily. 

Sweden's Immigration Services received a letter from the municipality warning "There is a great risk that ordinary businesses and society will suffer". Another town, Flilipstad, with a population of 6,000 "cannot cope with the refugee arrivals", SVT, Sweden's national public television broadcast network was informed by the town's officials. The Migration Board is itself being financially strained by Sweden's private sector making huge profits on this issue of human misery.

Private companies in the business of elder care have branched out into child care, placing a charge of $9,000 a month for their services, with the cost to place a child in a foster home $13,000 per month. Up to 180,000 asylum requests are being anticipated for this year, representing a large industry responsible for four percent of the country budget for 2016. 

The famous industrialist Wallenberg family is going out of its way to demonstrate that their humanitarian relative who provided visas to Jews desperate to escape death camps during World War II, was an anomaly in the family. The firm, along with the private equity company IK Investment Partners is earning immense profits on refugee accommodation. Sweden's single largest provider in the private arena, Jokarjo, is providing accommodation for adults, housing 5,000 migrants at 30 facilities.

Private entrepreneurs are permitted to buy up housing, to evict existing tenants and to subdivide units. One enterprise purchased a 12-resident building, rezoned it to accommodate 144 refugees, arguing the building's units were too spacious. The revenue from the Migration Board for housing those migrants is expected to be $2-million monthly. One of the biggest housing providers, Aleris, owned by Wallenberg receives $9,600 monthly for apartments normally renting for $800.

Public emergency measures may be invoked for expropriation of summer homes and underused properties to house desperate refugees whose need the board believes should take precedence over those of comfortable native-born Swedes, in access to housing. In its most ambitious building project in the country's history, Sweden plans the building of 600,000 new dwellings.

Understandably, the pride that Swedes took in their welcoming attitude to migrants has frayed at the edges and is rapidly being replaced by resentment and fear. There is the rising incidence of crime, violent acts against Swedes, and disturbing incidents of rape on the rise, attributed to the presence of migrants. In response, some Swedes are committing themselves to violent actions, including arson at refugee centres.

And nor are Swedes willing to remain in residence in neighbourhoods that reach a critical mass of migrants. Forecasts that Swedes could eventually represent a minority in their country of birth by 2025 has dismayed the population with the realization that should Sweden continue to absorb these ongoing waves of refugees, Sweden will no longer be recognizable.

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