Sweden’s recent announcement that they would impose temporary border checks at the bridge across the Oresund strait separating Sweden and Denmark and ferry ports in the region, reflects a nation facing a massive crisis. The government warned last week that it could no longer guarantee finding accommodation for newly-arrived refugees. Today, Sweden takes in more immigrants relative to its population than the U.S. did at the peak of the transatlantic migration.
In 2000, 11 percent of Sweden’s population was foreign-born. Today, the proportion is closer to 17 percent, higher than any comparable country in Europe — and higher also than the United States, where only 13 percent of the total population is foreign-born.
Unemployment is now stubbornly stuck above eight percent. Among foreign-born Swedes, the rate is twice as large.
Every resident of Sweden — whether they were born there or not — is entitled to free public health care, a year of parental leave paid by the government, mandatory sick-leave benefits, and free dental care until the age of 20.In addition to free health care and other services, a family of four in Sweden is entitled to around $3,000 in welfare benefits each month.In the Swedish welfare state, people live comfortably even if they are unemployed.
The ministry of labor reports that “almost 60 percent” of newly arrived refugees lack a high-school education, and Sweden’s high-tech, skill-intensive labor market has shown little demand for low-skilled labor.
Today, immigrants constitute 16 percent of the Swedish population, 51 percent of the long-term unemployed, and 57 percent of recipients of welfare payments.
According to the National Review, immigrants now earn around 40% less on average than the native-born, a socioeconomic time bomb.
Around 10,000 people are arriving every week in Sweden.
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats Party is now that nation’s third largest political movement.
“We haven’t heard rhetoric like this in Europe since the 1930s. It really worries me,” Morgan Johansson, Sweden’s immigration minister, told the BBC.
Tino Sanandaji is a Kurdish-Swedish economist, a researcher at the Institute of Economic History at the Stockholm School of Economics, who earned a PhD from the University of Chicago. He has made a name for himself in Sweden by publicly talking about the devastating financial impact of Sweden’s mass-immigration policy. The following are quotes taken from interviews with him.
“In Magdalena Andersson’s (Sweden’s Minister for Finance) budget proposal six months ago, the estimated costs of asylum reception between the years 2015-2018 was set to 153 billion Swedish Kroner ($17 billion). In the spring budget, costs have been revised upwards and are now estimated to end up at 172 billion SEK ($19 billion) from 2015 to 2018.”
“The past few years have been the worst Sweden experienced in the postwar period in term of productivity and growth of GDP per capita. This has coincided with the fastest immigration in Sweden’s history.”
“Sweden has embarked on a radical migration experiment that no other developed state has ever done, and it appears they have done so blindly.”
Although the Swedish government allows asylum-seekers to work immediately, chances of finding a long-term job are low. Nearly half of all foreign-born people ages 25 to 64 are unemployed. “There just aren’t many jobs anymore for the very low-skilled.”
Even after 15 years in Sweden, immigrant employment rates reach only about 60%. Sweden has the biggest employment gap in Europe between natives and non-natives. In segregated neighborhoods, not working eventually becomes the norm through social osmosis, creating a vicious cycle that carries on into the next generation.
“The so-called visible minorities of Europe are rarely allowed to forget their lower socioeconomic status or that they are outsiders who were never really welcomed by large sections of the native population,” he said. “Despite lip service to the contrary, Muslim immigrants sense the silent collective distrust whenever some random extremist runs amok.”
Sweden’s labor market is highly skills-intensive, and even low-skilled Swedes can’t get work. “So what chance is there for a 40-year-old woman from Africa?” Sanandaji wonders.
You can’t combine open borders with a welfare state he says. “If you’re offering generous welfare benefits to every citizen, and anyone can come and use these benefits, then a very large number of people will try to do that. And it’s just mathematically impossible for a small country like Sweden to fund those benefits.”
“In Sweden, the integration is so bad that refugee migration, according to research represents a huge and growing financial burden to be financed on top of the aging population. Not a single study, based on calculations of the actual income and expenditure, has shown otherwise.” “It is an unpopular message,” he says. “Researchers who make factually correct but politically incorrect messages in the debate, are often met with hatred, suspicion, racism accusations and other mudslinging. It involves no career benefits, especially not ethnic Swedish economists. Many economists support me privately, but will not do it publicly, which I can understand.”
“You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict the future.”
Denmark’s Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg just commented: “The Swedes put themselves in this situation. They have pursued a very lenient immigration policy for years and they are to blame for the swamp they are in.”
According to Swedish integration police chief, Ulf Boström, Gothenburg, in western Sweden is, per capita, the European city from which most people have joined Islamic extremist groups. Statistics from the Swedish security service suggest that just over 300 Swedish nationals have left the country to travel to fight with Islamic extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Forty percent of those – around 120 young men – are from the Gothenburg area.
In May, Boström told Swedish newspaper Göteborg-Posten that at least 50 Swedish jihadis, and perhaps as many as 100, have returned to Sweden and not one has been prosecuted under the laws related to terrorist crimes.
“It is incomprehensible. We have the names and social security numbers of people who travel to Syria to fight and we know about it. Some come home and when they do, they can get health care and help, and then go right back down there again.”
Update 11/24/2105 – Sweden’s prime minister puts the immigration brakes on. ““It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more.”