Sweden to tighten criteria for citizenship approval

Published 10 September 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Citizenship ceremony in Stockholm with crown princess Victoria.

The Swedish government wants it to be significantly harder to obtain Swedish citizenship in the future. Among the proposed changes are requirements for a deeper understanding of Swedish culture and the Swedish way of life. Additionally, those granted citizenship should have a “decent way of living”.

– These are reasonable requirements that contribute to better integration and that we should now set for Swedish citizenship, says minister of migration, Maria Malmer Stenergard of the Moderate Party (M) to the state channel SVT.

The government has decided on new directives for the inquiry which will determine how the requirements for Swedish citizenship should be tightened. According to Stenergard, “citizenship signifies membership in Swedish society” and “holds great value – both legally and symbolically”.

Therefore, there are proposals for stricter requirements on understanding how Swedish society operates, about Swedish culture, and ensuring that those granted citizenship have a decent way of living.

– Exactly where the line is drawn for living decently will need to be examined by a researcher, but clearly, it’s not about a single speeding ticket. We also believe it’s reasonable for one to master the Swedish language and have their own means of support, says the Minister of Migration.

Additionally, those aspiring for Swedish citizenship should have lived in the country for at least eight years, compared to the current requirement of about five years.

The state channel suggests that with these new regulations, Sweden is transitioning “from one of the easiest countries to gain new citizenship in, to having some of the toughest requirements for citizenship in Europe”. However, the minister of migration believes they only wish to set the same standards as other EU countries.

The investigation is to be reported no later than a year from now, and a legislative proposal will be ready at the earliest in the latter half of 2025.

It’s worth noting that Maria Malmer Stenergard’s party, the Moderates, during prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s term and in collaboration with parties like the Green Party, increased mass immigration to Sweden to unprecedented levels.

I will appeal to the Swedish people to open their hearts to the very vulnerable individuals we now see worldwide, Reinfeldt said in 2014, for instance.

Today, the Moderates claim to have shifted their stance on the matter and instead advocate for a more restrictive immigration policy.

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