Newly released figures from Sweden’s Migration Board show that the majority of residency permits granted so far this year have come from chain migration and asylum claims.
The figures reveal that between January and the end of August, the Swedish government has granted a total of 86,819 residency permits, with 30,327 coming from chain migration, or ‘family reunification’, and 13,613 coming from asylum claims.
Asylum figures have been reduced since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, which saw over 160,000 asylum claims for the year in a country of only ten million people.
The largest number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden in 2018 came from Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
‘Family reunification’ programmes have become one of the largest sources of new residency permits so far this year. The statistics show 48 overseas adoptions, 12,219 family reunifications on asylum grounds, 12,169 family reunifications classified as “other”, and 5,801 children born in Sweden to parents who are not Swedish.
Combined, the family reunification and asylum claims make up 43,850 — more than half — of the residency permits granted by the government.
By contrast, residency permits relating to the labour market accounted for only 27,666 of the total permits given.
Mass migration has been seen as the main driver of Sweden’s recent population growth, which was among the highest in the European Union in 2016 — increasing by 1.5 percent.
Approaching the national elections in Sweden this weekend, many political parties have taken tougher stances on mass migration, most notably the populist Sweden Democrats, which has surged in popularity to come first in a YouGov poll earlier this week.
Sweden’s Population Growth Second Highest in EU Due to Mass Migration
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 12, 2017
While the Sweden Democrats are perceived to be tough on mass migration and crime, several members of the party split earlier this year, claiming that it had become too mainstream and forming Alternative for Sweden (AfS).
The party, headed by Gustaf Kasselstrand, has been provocative on the campaign trail, promising to deport up to 500,000 people and calling for an audit of all residency permits granted since the year 2000.
The party was planning a final election event in Stockholm on Friday at the Kungsträdgården, a park in the centre of the city, but the city of Stockholm scrapped the event, with some, including Liberal group leader Lotta Edholm, celebrating the cancellation.
“I think it’s good that the city put the foot down and cancelled the event. It is extremely inappropriate that racist and anti-democratic actors like the Alternatives for Sweden and associated persons hold events in premises or on land that the city of Stockholm owns,” Edholm said.
In response, the AfS have reported the city of Stockholm to OSCE election observers for electoral fraud.