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Scandinavia Today / Sweden


Surprisingly low interest of Somali relatives wishing to move to Sweden - Great relief to the Swedish authorities

Wednesday, 06 February 2013
Just the sound of the name "Somalis" in Sweden drive the authorities into melt down and the far rights into media frenzy and the population into high voters registration for the far right party. Unlike expectation that flood of Somalis will come to Sweden to join their relatives already living here when a recent law relaxed such possibility, it turned out that a few of them actually are coming to Sweden.

According to media reports, interest among Somalis to join their relatives in Sweden has proved not to be as large as the authorities thought a year ago. A leading judgment in a Swedish Migration Court gave more Somalis significant powers to invite their relatives described as trapped in the ungoverned horn of Africa country.

Thus the perception that many of them will flood into Sweden has not come to fruition. 
According to radio Sweden, Björn Berggren, migration authority, at the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia, where Somalis submit most of their applications said, "we assumed that all those who applied for residence and work permits for family reunification would come back when the rules changed. But it turned out simply that not everyone came back for the second or a third try. We overestimated the unexpressed demand."

The Somali immigrant family is a group that has received considerable attention recently, and many estimates have been made about how many people would seek to come to Sweden after the rules were made more generous a year ago.

As late as in May 2012, the Swedish immigration authority processed about 23 000 applications from Somali family immigrants during the year. But then the forecasts have changed several times, and with the benefit of hindsight, it now appears that more than half, about 12,000 Somalis have submitted applications in various Swedish missions abroad. Around 4000 people have so far have been granted a residence permit, but for those also, it's just over 1000 that have actually arrived in Sweden.

One reason for the low arrival has been attributed to lack of financial resources for transportation and other travel plans. Others reasons are that some of them take care of families back home such as children who are not their biological children and therefore not entitled to transfer to Sweden. Young children (nieces and nephews) cannot be left unattended for and since they cannot be brought to Sweden, they are forced to remain back home. 

Most f those children's parent have been killed in a  Somalia that  has undergone violet conflict for 20 years, so there is the all sorts of family constellations, said an authority to radio Sweden.

Another reason is that the situation in Somalia has improved and slightly fewer Somalis get asylum in Sweden - which leads to fewer family immigrants.

This situation will come as a relief to the Swedish government which was forced to admit on TV last weekend that increasing immigration to Sweden was a problem. This came after pressure from the far right,  Sweden Democrats and opinion polls which showed that Swedish voters where against increase immigration. The Somalis make one of the largest immigrant groups in Sweden followed by the Afghans and the Iraqis.  
by Team

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