The “international information campaign” will promote the “paradigm shift” currently taking place in Swedish migration policy, and will be aimed at foreign authorities and other authorities working internationally, Malmer Stenergard said.
“In the long run, the goal is that fewer people will come here,” she said.
The campaign will also target foreign media and foreign embassies in Sweden.
“Currently, two thirds of those coming to Europe do not have a valid reason for protection,” Malmer Stenergard said. “Many of them will be forced to return, and even more so under this government and collaborating party [the Sweden Democrats].”
Sweden’s current government consists of the Moderates, Christian Democrats and the Liberals, with the support of the Sweden Democrats, who are not in government. Its policy document, the Tidö Agreement, is co-authored by all four parties and covers seven different policy areas, of which migration and integration is the largest.
“Many migrants place their lives in the hands of refugee smugglers, and will still have to return later. If they receive information on which rules apply here, we’ll reduce the risk of suffering for these people and can focus on those who actually need protection to a greater extent,” said Malmer Stenergard.
The message of the campaign will focus on informing people in other countries of planned changes to Sweden’s migration policy, which will include tighter rules for family reunification, stricter maintenance requirements and stricter rules for citizenship, she explained.
The number of refugees arriving in Sweden increased in 2022 to 17,000, compared to 11,000 the year before, but down from around 21,000 in 2019.
“In particular, I think this measure is important in the short-term to lower the pressure of asylum seekers on Sweden,” Henrik Vinge, the Sweden Democrat parliamentary group leader, said.
The plan so far is not to take out advertisements in foreign newspapers, for example, with the government instead hoping that information will spread by word of mouth.
“You can’t underestimate how quickly information can spread by word of mouth,” Malmer Stenergard said. “That’s why we need to work broadly, both through authorities but also through the media. After that, we believe it will spread naturally.”
Many of the proposed measures in the migration and integration section of the Tidö coalition agreement specifically target asylum seekers, including the goal of lowering the number of asylum seekers accepted per year to the lowest possible level under EU law, making it possible to withdraw residence permits for asylum seekers who are no longer in need of protection, abolishing permanent residence permits for asylum seekers, and “return migration” programmes to encourage asylum seekers to return to their countries of origin.