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Swimming against the tide: Why Sweden Support Open Door Labour Migration Policies in Sweden and within the EU

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Linda Berg
Andrea Spehar
Publicerad i 19th International Conference of Europeanists (CES), Boston, 22-24 March 2012
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Centrum för Europaforskning (CERGU)
Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Språk en
Ämnesord EU, migration, Sweden, policies, parties
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap, Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier), Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER)

Sammanfattning

Across Europe, regulating migration remains one of the most pressing issues for national governments, not least in the current context of economic crisis and welfare state challenges. Vast academic interest has been directed towards understanding restrictive refugee and labour immigration policies of destination countries, including the impact of growing anti-immigrant parties. But so far, less attention has been directed towards analysing countries’ liberal migration policy preferences. Contrary to recent developments in many EU member states, Sweden has witnessed a dramatic liberalisation of the rules governing the entry of third-country labour migrants. The new Immigration Law of 2008 liberalised immigration policy and made it more employer-driven. These changes have been called a ‘slight revolution’. Sweden is also one of few EU countries to actively take initiatives to promote greater harmonisation of labour migration policy within the EU. Moreover, Sweden was one of only three Member States (along with the UK and Ireland) to immediately open its doors to citizens from the EU accession countries of 2004 and 2007. This paper analyses the preferences and strategies of the main Swedish political actors in order to explain why Sweden has been backing such open/liberal policies. It draws on the examination of media coverage, party programs, official documents and elite interviews.

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