Posted For: Layla Godey
Many question the extent to which an asylum seeker can legitimately claim the need for refuge if they return to their homeland voluntarily for vacation
Almost four in five refugees now residing in Sweden have vacationed in their home country since fleeing to Europe, according to a latest poll.
A survey conducted by polling firm Novus on behalf of the Swedish online newspaper Bulletin revealed that 79 percent of refugees who claim to be fleeing war or persecution have voluntarily returned to their home country since making the trip to Sweden.
According to the survey, they do not wish, however, to return home permanently. When asked whether they plan to permanently return to their country of birth in the future, just 2 percent say they do, while 16 percent say maybe — 81 percent of those who arrived in Sweden from non-European countries say they do not, primarily because they believe Sweden to be a better country to raise their children.
The topic of asylum-seekers returning to their home country to see friends and family has become a political issue across some European countries in recent years, with many critics believing such action is incompatible with their claim of seeking refuge due to being in danger in their home country.
While Sweden does not currently have any restrictions on those wishing to return home temporarily, other countries including Germany and Switzerland have clamped down on the issue. In Switzerland, an asylum seeker who returns home without special permission from the government risks losing their residence permit in the country.
Similarly in Germany, a statement by then-Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in 2019 warned refugees they would face an investigation and could be stripped of their right to residency should they travel back to their homeland.
“If someone, a Syrian refugee, regularly vacations in Syria, he cannot honestly claim to be persecuted in Syria,” he said at the time.
Sweden held elections over the weekend with the right-wing bloc of moderates, liberals, Christian Democrats, and Sweden Democrats looking set to hold a collective parliamentary majority.
The result, which could take until Wednesday to be fully verified and announced, could see parties promoting stricter regulations on immigration holding considerable influence in the next administration. In particular, the Sweden Democrats, although unlikely to hold any ministerial positions, would lend its support to the government in trade for tougher crime and immigration policies.