Sweden Democrats Call to Introduce Danish-Style Compulsory Work for Immigrants on Benefits
Although Sweden's overall unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, it is nearly three times as high among immigrants, exceeding 21 percent. At the same time, 13.4 percent of the country's able-bodied population live on benefits.
The Danish government's plan to introduce compulsory labour in Denmark for those receiving benefits with “integration needs” has appeared to catch on. In no time, it has been hailed by Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, who has called for a similar system to be introduced in Sweden.
“It is unreasonable for people to live on benefits for any length of time without doing anything in return,” Jimmie Åkesson said, as quoted by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
The Sweden Democrat leader argued that Denmark's proposal should be studied and adopted by Sweden as well.
“We have have been pushing to extend activity requirements for those who receive income support for quite some time. In today's Sweden, it is mainly a matter of attending competence-enhancing education or learning Swedish,” Åkesson said.
From his point of view, the Sweden Democrat leader called specifically to include what he called socially beneficial initiatives, which should not be conflated with giving people jobs. This, according to him, would “crowd the labour market” and “distort the competition”. Instead, he proposed non-profit tasks such as cleaning beaches and collecting rubbish.
20 July 2021, 05:29 GMT
The Danish proposal presented earlier this week by the country's Social Democrat government as part of the “Denmark can do more” plan is intended to saturate the labour market with new blood and ease the country's post-COVID recovery after a spending spree to alleviate the pandemic's effects.
Among other things, the proposal intends to make demands on benefits receivers and, as Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen put it, introduce a new labour logic that conveys a duty to contribute and be useful.
“The goal is that all citizens with an integration need – both new arrivals and people who have been in the benefit system for a long time – will, in the long run be covered by the requirement of 37 hours of compulsory labour,” the Danish government said in a statement.
According to the plan, 20,000 people in Denmark will initially be covered by the reform, but the number will increase gradually. This policy is expected to target women from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan (know collectively as MENAP), about 60 percent of whom are out of work.
Over the past decade, consecutive Danish governments representing both the “blue” (centre-left) and the red (centre-right) blocs have introduced increasingly tough measures to restrict non-European immigration and push for harder integration. Denmark is also taking steps to dismantle the officially designated ghettos and cap the number of residents with a foreign background who can live in certain areas.
According to Statistics Sweden, more than 790,000 residents (or 13.4 percent of the country's able-bodied population) live on benefits, many of them immigrants. Although Sweden's overall unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, it exceeds 21 percent among immigrants.