April 19. 2024. 9:43

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New Swedish census will aim to ‘weed out’ illegals

Sweden’s Tax Agency has been commissioned to carry out a national census to get a better picture of who is staying illegally in the country, Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson and far-right Sweden Democrat party leader Jimmie Åkesson told a press conference Thursday.

The idea is to produce a better picture of who is in Sweden to ensure that people are registered in the right place, said Svantesson.

“This is an important issue in the coalition agreement. We are now taking further steps to implement it,” Svantesson said, adding that many people are not registered in the right place or are in Sweden even though they should not be.

After the general elections in Sweden last September, the centre-right Moderates, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberals entered a coalition supported by the unavoidable far-right Sweden Democrats (SD). The SD are not formally part of the government in exchange for the application of their immigration policy.

SD party leader Jimmie Åkesson, also on stage at the press conference, justified the decision by saying that as a result of an “irresponsible migration policy for decades,” arguing that Sweden has lost control of how many people live in the country.

“SD has for a long time, together with at least several of the government parties, talked about the importance of a large-scale national census to simply regain control,” he said.

Other authorities will have a greater obligation to provide the Swedish Tax Agency with information about people who do not have the right to live in Sweden. These are mainly the Swedish Migration Agency and the Police Authority.

The Swedish Tax Agency estimates that almost 200,000 people are registered at the wrong address in Sweden.

“Many of these people are registered at the wrong address due to ignorance and carelessness. But there are also people who register at the wrong address to gain access to various benefits – to which they are not entitled. Serious criminals also register at the wrong address to avoid the police,” the Moderate party posted on its website.

Ahead of the forthcoming national census, both SD and the Moderate party have opened up the possibility of supplementing questionnaires with door-to-door canvassing.

“The problem today is that we have a lot of illegal people here. It is not enough to send out forms, but outreach activities will be required. Where you simply knock on doors in certain areas and seek out people,” Richard Jomshof (SD), chair of the Justice Committee, told DN in December 2022.

“There can be any number of people registered at an address. It’s a different Sweden today than it was in 1990,” Jomshof added.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)