Fewer Refugees Granted Work Permits
Recently there’s been a dramatic drop in the number of asylum seekers who are granted a Swedish work permit. A survey carried out by Swedish Radio News shows that since the government introduced new rules forcing asylum seekers to produce a valid form of identification - such as a passport - the numbers of work permits within this group have dropped by 90%.
During the first three months of 2009, only 400 applications were granted, compared to 4000 in the same period of 2008.
To some extent this can be explained by less refugees arriving in Sweden and that the asylum process is more efficient. Refugees are only allowed to work in Sweden if it takes the authorities longer than 4 months to reach a decision in their cases. However, it is clear that the main reason behind the drop in granted work permits is caused by the need for an ID – something many refugees can’t or won’t produce.
Swedish Minister for Migration, Tobias Billström, is pleased with the new system.
“It gives asylum seekers a chance to show their good will by producing an ID – something we know that 90 – 99% of them are reluctant to do, often claiming that they don’t have access to any. And we provide a path into the Swedish labour market – on the condition that such good will is shown,” he said to Swedish Radio News.
Hans Bredberg, a lawyer specializing in asylum law, is less enthusiastic. He doesn’t think the new rules are going to make more asylum seekers produce a valid ID for the authorities. Rather, he thinks it will mean that many will have no other choice but to resort to illegal employment.
“Before, they had a chance to support themselves. Now this is taken away. If they have no ID to show, the new rules are painting them into a corner. So of course it will lead to illegal employment – they have to eat and get by,” he said to Swedish Radio News. (RM)