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In 2016, Sweden received 28,939 asylum seekers. Sweden is a predominantly Christian country in northern Europe, and yet most asylum seekers to Sweden came from three Muslim countries in the Middle East: Syria (5,459), Afghanistan (2,969) and Iraq (2,758). Why is it that people from these three Muslim countries choose to cross Europe to come to Sweden? What is it that Sweden offers that attracts people from the other side of the world?
It is not the major metropolises in Sweden that attract these people. 56% of Sweden's land area is covered by forest. Besides the Swedish capital Stockholm, there is no Swedish city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Sweden's average annual temperature is around 3°C (37.4°F), so it is not the weather that attracts tens of thousands of people from Muslim countries to Sweden.
What Sweden provides is economic and social benefits for all who come. Sweden is a country where the state pays newly-arrived migrants to encourage them to enter the community and seek jobs. If you receive a residence permit as a refugee, quota refugee or person with "subsidiary protection," you get up to $35 (308 SEK) a day, five days a week, if you participate in a so-called "establishment plan." So, the newly arrived migrant does not even have to work to get this money; the only thing he or she needs to do is to accept the help that the Public Employment Service provides. The newly-arrived migrant receives an "establishment allowance" (etableringsersättning) during his first two years in Sweden. After two years, the migrant is still entitled to all the benefits of the Swedish welfare state.
The migrants who receive this kind of establishment allowance can also get a supplementary establishment allowance (etableringstillägg) if they have children. They will get $91 a month (800 SEK) for each child under the age of 11, and $170 (1500 SEK) for each child who has reached the age of 11. A newly-arrived immigrant can get this supplementary establishment allowance for three children at most. If a newly-arrived immigrant has more than three children, then only the three oldest children count. The newly arrived immigrant can receive a maximum of $509 dollars (4500 SEK) a month through this supplementary establishment allowance.
So, if somebody lives in poverty in an Arab country and has several children, there is every reason to try to get a residence permit in Sweden. From the perspective of a poor migrant, that seems a lot of money to cash in, and one does not have to work a single day to get it. This makes Sweden a paradise for the migrants of the world who do not want to work. The Swedish taxpayer pays for this party.
If you accept the help of the Public Employment Service and start looking for a job, as a newly arrived migrant, you will also get help to pay the rent. If a newly arrived migrant has a rent of $396 (3500 SEK), the state pays $192 (1700 SEK). This is called the housing allowance (bostadsersättning).