Sweden: a Country of Opportunities and Constraints for Migrant Integration
by Veronica Riniolo, June 2016
In the midst of the enduring migrant crisis, Sweden’s representation of itself as one of the most egalitarian, tolerant and humanitarian countries in the world is being challenged. The riots of May 2013, the rise of the anti-immigration party, and the tightening of border controls depict a more nuanced picture than that usually brushed. The quick evolution of the Swedish context and the recent surge in the number of asylum seekers (163.000 in 2015) deserve specific attention. This paper proposes elements of reflection that question a unified view the countries’ capacity to handle migration-related phenomena. It offers an analysis of migrant integration processes in Sweden with specific emphasis on societal structures, migration flows, and integration policies. A first section traces back the main phases of migration flows and integration policies. A second section looks into integration processes with regard to housing and economic inclusion and introduces the challenges faced. I conclude with some remarks in a third section.