After taking in close to 3,000 ‘asylum seekers’ in just three years, the municipality of Hässelholm in southern Sweden faces financial ruin as up to 80 percent of migrants taken in remain on welfare.
When speaking about the issue, Lars Johnsson, Hässleholm’s City Council chairman, said that the municipality has no less than 100 completely illiterate migrants and another 200 which are very poorly educated.
With this in mind, Johnsson declared that “It will in principle be impossible to get them to work,” Kristianstadsbladet reports.
Since 2012, social assistance costs have surged, increasing from 32 million Swedish krona or 2,960,522 euros to 54 million krona or 4,996,258 euros this year. Costs are expected to increase by an additional six million krona or 555,000 euros each year.
30 million krona has already been put aside by the municipality to deal with the projected costs, but close to half of that has already been used.
“We would need 100 million krona from the state to go injury-free, to keep our noses above the surface,” Johnsson said.
The primary concern behind the municipality’s looming financial crisis is the termination of what is referred to as the establishment period – a two-year grace period where the Swedish national government pays the cost to house and integrate migrants.
According to Lena Wallentheim, a local Social Democrat, the two year ‘establishment period’ does not provide enough time to properly integrate migrants into the workforce.
“When the Employment Service withdraws, it becomes a double blow. The costs then fall on the municipality, in the form of support grants,” Wallentheim said.