I recently wrote about the ballooning cost of Swedish immigration, and it struck me how completely different the Swedish approach to immigration is compared to other Western countries.
Canada and Australia are two countries with a sensible, structured and fair point system that determine eligbility for potential immigrants. While no system is perfect, these clear guidelines reward higher education and likelihood of swift assimilation into society.
In other words, all immigration above the UN-mandated refugee quotas are strictly cherry-picked to maximize the benefit for the host country. This in turn also benefits the immigrants, because there’s not a glut of new arrivals fighting for scarce jobs and there is no stigma in being a new arrival; employers know that if you’re an engineer fresh off the boat, your credentials have already been vetted by the government. It’s a win-win for everyone.
When I lived and worked in Silicon Valley, there was a lot of talk about the H1-B visa system and how it created friction vs. the native engineers. Still, some of the most brilliant people I’ve met were Indians who scored their visas through fierce competition at the top Indian universities. To say that these guys were beneficial to society is an understatement, both in terms of taxes paid and work contributions.
It is my firm belief that Sweden would benefit greatly from an addition of, say 50 000 highly educated and entreprenurial Indians, Chinese or whatever. Origin is unimportant; it is the qualities of individuals and what they’re bringing to the table that matters. Sweden has a huge problem with youth unemployment, and a few thousand hungry upstart companies would do wonders for everyone.
Unfortunately, Sweden has decided to do the polar opposite. Skilled workers face a dense forest of red tape, and the oppressive tax system makes the best and brightest look elsewhere. Getting perhaps half of the take-home pay you would command in Silicon Valley, for the privilege of living in snow and slush rather than under swaying palm trees? No sale.
No siree, the Swedish priority is those with the absolutely least likelihood of entering the workforce anytime soon, if ever. Humanitarianism is the one, supreme guiding light — which is fine up to a point when it becomes destructive. That is where Sweden is now. It’s like trying to save 30 people into a rescue boat that only has capacity for 10; when it sinks, everybody loses.
Unemployment among unskilled immigrants is rampant, with all the costs and social challenges that come with it. That makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you have little education, there simply aren’t that many jobs in a modern, industrialized society. Especially since Sweden has powerful unions that make it a huge risk for an employer to hire. So even if the vast majority of the new arrivals really would like to roll up their sleeves, there’s just isn’t anywhere to turn but remain at home on the welfare dole.
Anyone pointing out that this is a problem is immediately shouted down as “racist” which makes the issue radioactive. The fact that the challenges would be just as great with a massive inflow unskilled albinos is irrelevant; any critique against the status quo can only based on an irrational hatred of foreigners.
On the flip side, this suppression of sensible voices leaves the stage open for actual racists who like to get into muddy theories of genetical predisposition towards laziness as the “explanation” certain groups have abysmal employment rates. And sure, every society has a certain percentage that really would rather lie on the couch and let others do the work. In Western societies, those afflicted with this clinical aversion to honest work are often easily identified by their Che Guevara T-shirts. But any sensible person recognizes that the high unemployment among immigrants is primarily caused by lack of job skills.
What make matters worse is that Swedish media and politicians insist on treating all “immigrants” as if it was a homogenous mass rather than groups with vastly different skills and opportunities. A Swiss surgeon is an “immigrant” and goes in the same bucket as the illiterate Somalian refugee goat herder.
Then you purposefully start intermixing the term “immigrant” (which is everyone) with “refugee” (which are almost always poor and uneducated). Voila! Magic! For starters, you can now create a strawman where anyone suggesting the country should accept fewer goat herders is really objecting to ALL immigration. (“Are you so terrified of foreigners you don’t want to let the nice surgeon in? Shame!”)
It also means you can now conceal part of the cost of the goat herder by letting the surgeon’s taxes paid average into the equation. (“See, the cost of immigration isn’t so bad! Have you no heart wanting to limit the refugees, now that you see how little they cost? We can afford to double the refugee inflow!”)
The latest wrinkle in the web of deceit surrounding Sweden’s extreme immigration is the idea that there are tens of thousands highly trained engineers, doctors and scientists languishing away in idleness or menial jobs because their credentials don’t get verified quickly enough. When you hear the Swedish PM talk, every single immigrant taxi driver and window washer is a rocket scientist with at least three PhDs and one Nobel prize. But thanks to Swedish bureacracy, it takes forever to validate their credentials.
That’s of course a load of bull feces. Kurdish-Swedish economist Tino Sanandaji, acclaimed authority on political economy with a PhD from University of Chicago, addressed the issue in a recent article. I encourage you to run the linked article through a translator; it’s a delight to read an expert rip political BS to shreds using hard facts.
“The most important cause of low employment by far among refugees and their dependants is a low level of education in combination with the increasing demands of today’s knowledge-intensive labor market.”
“[The idea] that Sweden has forced thousands of doctors to remain unemployed or has the world’s best trained taxi drivers is nothing more than a populist urban legend.”
Unfortunately, voices of reason such as Sanandaji’s are routinely dismissed, simply because they don’t fit the established doctrine. In every article, TV debate and talkshow, Sanandaji has crushed politically correct lackeys with math, logic and verifiable facts. No wonder he doesn’t get invited very often anymore.
UPDATE: The director of the Swedish immigration bureau, Anders Danielsson, was interviewed in newspaper Sydsvenskan recently. He had this to say:
“When I meet with foreign colleagues, they say that Sweden is an odd country when it comes to asylum issues,” he said . “No, I say then, it is you who are odd. All of you.”