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Efforts to Increase Return Migration in Sweden Face Challenges and Criticisms

Limited Success in Encouraging Return Migration

According to recent reports, the number of individuals voluntarily opting to return to their home countries from Sweden remains small. In the previous year, only two people chose to return, and this year, the number stands at a mere one person. Over the past decade, approximately 40 individuals have decided to undertake return migration. These figures indicate a significant challenge in motivating individuals to leave Sweden despite their residence permits.

Incentives and Compensation

To stimulate return migration, the Swedish government offers a compensation of SEK 10,000 to individuals who submit their residence permits. However, this amount has been criticized as insufficient compared to other countries like Denmark, which provides returnees with a more substantial sum of 200,000 kroner. Critics argue that a higher compensation could serve as a more compelling incentive for individuals to return to their home countries.

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Efforts and Information Campaign

Recognizing the need to address the issue of return migration, the Swedish Migration Agency has initiated an information campaign. The agency has invited municipalities and voluntary organizations to participate in a meeting aimed at raising awareness about return migration. This approach mirrors the agency’s previous efforts to promote mass immigration. By providing information and support, they hope to facilitate a smoother transition for individuals returning to their home countries permanently.

Outlook and Criticisms

Despite these endeavors, some critics view the government’s information campaign as a means to make immigrants feel unwelcome in Sweden. Green Party spokesperson Märta Stenevi expressed concerns about the combination of the return migration campaign with other government proposals, such as whistleblower laws, visitation zones, and collective punishment. Stenevi suggests that these measures contribute to a growing sense of anxiety among immigrants, undermining the government’s objective of facilitating voluntary return migration.

Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard, however, downplays the concerns raised, emphasizing that the proposals are not particularly dramatic. Stenergard suggests that individuals who fled their home countries due to reasons such as war may naturally want to return if conditions have improved in their places of origin.

Investigation and Possible Reforms

The law regarding return migration in Sweden dates back to 1984, prompting calls for a thorough investigation into how return migration can be strongly stimulated and increased through alternative means. The Tidö Agreement, which the government aims to examine, underscores the need for reforms in this area.


Sweden’s efforts to promote return migration face significant challenges, as demonstrated by the limited number of individuals voluntarily returning despite the residence permits they hold. The government’s compensation amount has drawn criticism for being relatively low compared to other countries. The information campaign initiated by the Swedish Migration Agency aims to provide support and awareness, but concerns have been raised about the potential negative effects on immigrant communities. As discussions continue, it remains to be seen whether further reforms and strategies can effectively encourage more individuals to undertake return migration in Sweden.

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