Sweden to harden family reunification rules

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Sweden announced on Tuesday it would toughen up family reunification rules and potentially expand DNA testing in an effort to slash immigration.

The Swedish government vowed to harden eligibility criteria like income that allow foreign nationals to join relatives residing in Sweden.

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Conservative premier Ulf Kristersson promised to counter immigration and crime after he came to power in 2022 with a majority coalition that includes the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD).

Authorities are considering rolling out more DNA tests to confirm that people -- particularly children -- are related, in cases where identity cannot be proven otherwise.

“The right to a family life is a fundamental right, but the current rules are more generous” than stricter European requirements, Minister of Migration Maria Malmer Stenergard told a press briefing attended by SD.

“The circle of family members eligible for a residence permit must be reviewed and tightened,” SD spokesperson Ludvig Aspling told reporters.

Sweden has taken in a large number of migrants since the 1990s, mostly from conflict-ridden countries like the former Yugoslavia, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and Iraq.

The government has launched a review of the current legislation and will publish results by January 25, 2025.

The announcement came as the EU’s 27 members will present by December their plans to implement a fresh, controversial European reform that will harden immigration control across the bloc and facilitate sending back asylum-seekers.

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