It’s me, Stockholm Yankee. I’m your favorite kind of immigrant. The kind who came here speaking svenska from the get-go (thanks to a full year of Swedish classes pre-arrival in the US, plus various Folkuniversitet courses once I got here. None of which you had to pay for, by the way.) The kind who put the “hög” in “högutbildad” with 7 years of university studies, capped off with a master’s degree from Harvard. The kind who took your “integrationspolitik” to heart, and eagerly started looking for a job–and ways to contribute to society– from day one.
So, Folkpartiet, you’d think we’d have a lot in common. For a moment many years ago, I even briefly considered making you my party. What’s not to love about being “liberal”?
Then I saw your infamous vote-pandering campaign in 2006. Språkkrav för medborgarskap. At a time when me and my ambitious ex-pat friends were running into hurdles on the job market–that hurt. The last thing I wanted to hear was that everything was my fault and that another “krav” would be standing in my way.
And now you are at it again with a new campaign that looks remarkably similar to your 2006 proposal. And since the devil is in the details, I still don’t understand any of the nitty-gritty beyond the headlines:
- Will you have a national reading/writing/oral language test? At what level? How will it be administered? What will it cost?
- Will you require people to attend or graduate from SFI to fulfill the språkkrav? What about immigrants who don’t qualify for SFI (as I initially didn’t on a student visa) or opt for other programs elsewhere?
- If speaking “felfri svenska” (as many job ads put it) is so important, why all the outdated language textbooks on the market? Why the substandard, outsourced SFI programs? If you truly care about Swedish fluency, it will require a much stronger societal investment.
So, Folkpartiet, if you ever want Stockholm Yankee’s vote—see if you can clarify these points. Then again, based on your new campaign, it doesn’t seem like you want my vote at all—even if I am your favorite kind of immigrant.
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