Swedish study claims segregation can be good

diversityA new report has criticised the Swedish policy of attempting to control where refugees and immigrants settle, claiming instead that freely-chosen segregation isn’t necessarily a bad option.

“Closeness to fellow countrymen can actually be positive, especially if the group has a relatively strong socioeconomic position,” claim economists Olof Aslund and Oskar Nordstrom Skans in their report in newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The authors, in making their presentation of the Swedish Centre for Business and Policy Studies report for 2009 on welfare, suggest that there is no evidence that the ethnic composition of an individual’s surrounding has any decisive role in the effectiveness of integration into schools or labour markets.

The Local reveals that the existing placement system in Sweden is built upon a theory of dispersing refugees to widespread locations across the country and also providing incentives to entice new arrivals to areas with smaller immigrant populations. Skans and Aslund say that while the move does result in reduced housing market discrimination it also makes it more difficult for immigrants to successfully integrate into the local workforce. “Our conclusion from this review is that a policy which aims to control immigrants’ residency patterns is wrong,” they state.

Rather, the authors suggest, politicians should be addressing fundamental issues such as poverty and long-term unemployment in immigrant communities. Skans and Aslund also add that abiding by the same laws and responsibilities as other Swedes should be self-evident. “But with that it follows as well, in our opinion, that society ought to treat those who immigrate as equal members of society with the same rights as others,” the pair writes.

The researchers feel that choices made by immigrants as to where they choose to live, work, go to school and seek partners should be accepted by society as it would be among their own citizens.

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