Sweden’s newly elected center-right government is proposing to amend existing migration laws to change permanent residency given to migrants to temporary permits, local media reported on Friday.
The coalition agreement was signed by the Moderate party, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberals, and was approved by the Swedish Democrats, who are not a part of the government but offer a confidence and supply agreement. It pledged to abolish “the institution of permanent residence permits,” with plans plans to convert these to temporary, conditional passes.
The Tidö Agreement, a 60-page document outlining the agreed upon plans of the coalition government, included numerous pledges to tackle legal and illegal immigration into Sweden, including a requirement for “proposals to remove the system of permanent residence permits to be presented by 2024 at the latest.”
Additionally, the government vowed to “investigate whether to withdraw residence permits in several cases, including for those who no longer ‘meet the requirements for the permit.'”
Mikael Ribbenvik, the general director of the Migration Agency, told broadcaster SVT that “an investigation will look into under what circumstances existing permanent residence permits could be turned into temporary residence permits.”
“This would be the first time this has happened in Sweden. We haven’t had this before,” Ribbenvik added, explaining that once a permit is permanent, there are no further checks on the holder’s eligibility.
More than 300,000 migrants in Sweden currently hold permanent residence permits, and Ribbenvik told the Swedish broadcaster that he would be worried about the government’s plans if he was one of them.
“It says that they want to investigate whether they can convert permanent residence permits into temporary ones, so I would be worried about that,” he said.
New Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard added further clarity to the plans over the weekend, explaining that anyone who wants to stay in Sweden indefinitely should apply for citizenship and not remain a holder of a residence permit.
“You should not be here forever on a permanent residence permit. A clear path to citizenship is needed,” Stenergard was reported as saying in Svenska Dagbladet.
“I envision that you will receive individual plans for how to achieve this. Learn the language, earn a living, and have knowledge of Swedish society so that you can fully become a Swedish citizen,” she added.