Igor KuznetsovAll materialsFollowing decades of open-doors immigration policy championed by both the left and the right, the Scandinavian nations are now advocating restrictions and harsher immigration measures in a tacit admission of mistakes committed.Saddled with nearly a million vacant jobs across the country, Canada is bidding on record-breaking immigration to address the labor shortage. In a new immigration policy landmark, set out by Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, the country intends to attract a total of 1.45 million immigrants in the years between 2023 and 2025.Barely a week ago, the country hit an important demographic milestone, as its announced that more than one in five Canadians now was an immigrant.As put by Fraser, threatened with labour shortages and lacking economic capacity to fund schools and hospitals, Canada “needs more people” to “balance a worrying demographic trend.” Among others, Fraser cited an aging population and a looming wave of retirements.Since the early 1990s, Canada has maintained continuously high immigration, attracting an average of over 200,000 newcomers per year. However, a similar approach has been tested in Scandinavia in recent decades and resulted in governments reversing gears to manage the fallout.
“Straightening Out Sweden”
Among others, Sweden, which saw decades of open-doors immigration policy upheldby parties from the left and the right alike, is clearly reversing the trend, with both left-wing Social Democrats and liberal-conservative Moderates now advocating restrictions and harsher immigration measures.While successive Swedish governments representing both blocs have encouraged mass immigration, with nearly 20 percent of the country’s population of 10.2 million being foreign-born and over a quarter having foreign roots, the demographic shift coincided with profound changes in the Swedish society.Unlike its fellow EU nations, Sweden has seen a spike in violent crime in recent decades, making it the worst country in the EU in terms of fatal shootings per year, trailing only Croatia in a 2021 survey. The country’s Crime Prevention Council (Brå) called this trend unique and pinned the blame on the criminal environments engaged in drug trafficking and other criminal groups, which reportedly account for eight out of ten shootings.
World’Europe’s Chicago’: Sweden Outguns Rest of EU in Deadly Shootings27 May 2021, 05:13 GMTA turning point was reached several years ago, when former Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, after years of denial, finally admitted the role of poor integration in the soaring crime. Subsequently, Erik Nord, the head of the Greater Gothenburg police area, acknowledged a link between mass shootings and immigration, emphasizing that “basically everyone who shoots or is shot in gang conflicts originates from the Balkans, the Middle East, or North or East Africa.”Fittingly, immigration-related crime became a key topic of the 2022 election, with notions such as “parallel societies”, “no-go zones”, “illegals” and “exclusion areas,” while assiduously avoided by the government and the mainstream media, entering popular parlance. Current Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson ran on the platform of “straightening out Sweden,” pledging to crack down on crime and tackling issues from soaring gang shootings to high unemployment and disorderly school classrooms, for which he blamed his predecessors.His rhetoric alone marks a stark contrast with both Social Democrat Stefan Löfven, who famously said “My Europe doesn’t built walls,” and fellow Moderate Fredrik Reinfeldt, who urged Swedes to “Open their hearts” and embrace mass immigration, voicing ambitions to turn the country into a “humanitarian superpower.”
Viral’Time and Demographics on Our Side’: Swedish Rapper Consoles ‘Blacks and Browns’ After Election14 September, 06:49 GMTOpponents of mass immigration cite economic arguments as well, blasting the notion of the influx of foreigners being beneficial for economy. According to Statistics Sweden, more than 790,000 of the country’s residents (or 13.4 percent of its able-bodied population) live on benefits, disproportionately many of them being immigrants. Although Sweden’s overall unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, it exceeds 20 percent among immigrants. This is a far cry from the “shower of competence” marketed by national broadcaster SVT at the height of the migrant crisis, which suggested that highly qualified engineers and doctors were en route to the Nordic country.The idea of putting limits to immigration, seen as borderline “racist” during both the Reinfeldt and the Löfven eras, has now become mainstream. While the much-vilified national-conservative Sweden Democrats used to be the only party in favor of harsher immigration laws and sterner penalties, even outgoing Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, an ardent Social Democrat, took credit for tightening the country’s immigration policy.
Denmark Shutting Doors
A similar pattern emerged in Denmark, albeit several years ago. The national-conservative Danish People’s Party, once a formidable force to be reckoned with, lost their unique position as the solitary anti-immigration party. Instead, some of their talking points were adopted by numerous parties, representing both blocs. Consecutive Danish governments, including the ruling Social Democrats, have asserted a tough stance on immigration and integration, constraining the once-massive influx of foreigners to a trickle.The Danish authorities themselves helped sway the popular opinion away from immigration — among others by reports evaluating the net cost of immigration from non-western countries as DKK 31 billion ($4.11 billion).
WorldDenmark Sets Aim at ‘Zero Asylum Seekers’, Promises Crackdown on Political Islam25 January 2021, 07:24 GMTFurthermore, Denmark is known for passing headlines-grabbing laws such as the 2016 Jewelry Law, which gave Danish authorities the power to search for and confiscate cash, jewelry, and other valuables above DKK 10,000 (about $1,325) from arriving migrants, allegedly to pay for their reception and stay, and the Ghetto Package, which aims to reduce the number of people of “non-Western origin” in areas designated “vulnerable” to under 30 percent, through evictions, harsher punishment, overpolicing, and compulsory daycare. Yet another eye-grabbing project concerns setting up a reception center in Rwanda to process asylum seekers’ requests.Tellingly, Danish Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye, himself the son of an Ethiopian refugee, called on the EU to learn from the mistakes of the 2015 Migrant Crisis and urged refugees from overseas to stay within their regions rather than seek asylum in Europe.