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BREXIT

Sweden second in EU in giving Brits citizenship

Sweden was second only to Germany in giving citizenship to resident Brits in the year the UK voted to leave the European Union, new EU figures show.

Sweden second in EU in giving Brits citizenship
New citizens are welcomed in Stockholm City Hall last summer. Photo: Lars Pedersen /TT
According to figures from the Eurostat statistics agency, Sweden in 2016 gave citizenship to 978 resident Brits, compared to the 2,702 Brits who got citizenship in Germany.
 
Neighbouring Denmark, in contrast, granted citizenship to just 85 of the Brits living in the country.  
 
The number of Brits seeking citizenship in another EU country more than doubled from 655 to 2,478 between 2015 and 2016 as long-term residents raced to secure the advantages of national and European citizenship. 
 
According to the Eurostat figures, Sweden in 2016 was the second most generous EU country when it came to granting citizenship,  giving out nationality at more than twice the rate of neighbouring Denmark, France and Germany.
 
In 2016 Sweden granted eight citizenships per 100 resident foreigners, compared to 3.3 for Denmark, 2.7 for France and the UK, and just 1.3 for Germany. 
 
Croatia was the most generous EU country, granting 9.7 new citizenships per 100 resident foreigners. Portugal came closely after Sweden with 6.5.
 
In 2016, Somalis topped the list of nationalities granted Swedish citizenship, representing 14.8 percent of the 61,294 new citizens, followed by Syrians, who represented 7.3 percent, and 'stateless people' (defined by Eurostat as someone not recognized as a citizen of any country) with 7.2 percent. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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READER QUESTIONS

Do ‘self-sufficient’ Brits in Sweden need to buy health insurance?

Several readers have complained to The Local that the UK leaving the European Union means that they are being forced to keep paying for health insurance longer than they would have under EU rules. Sweden's Migration Agency told The Local this was unnecessary.

Do 'self-sufficient' Brits in Sweden need to buy health insurance?

EU citizens who do not work, study or have families in Sweden can still stay in the country longer than three months if they can demonstrate that they are self-supporting. This requires them to have a comprehensive health insurance as well as a guaranteed income from overseas or sufficient savings. 

Once an EU citizen gets registered, or folkbokförd, and obtains a Swedish personal number, they no longer have to pay health insurance.

But several Britons who have post-Brexit residence on the basis of being “self-supporting”, told The Local that they believed that they had to continue paying health insurance premiums of as much as 50,000 kronor a year if they wanted to fulfil the conditions for living in Sweden legally and so qualify for permanent right of residence (permanent uppehållsrätt), or citizenship. 

“As a sixty-one year old person categorised as self-supporting in Sweden, I must pay almost 50,000 kronor per annum for health insurance,” wrote Simon, a Briton living in Värmland. “A yearly increase of 10 percent for the years until I’m eligible for citizenship is unsustainable. If the proposal for an eight-year wait until one can apply for citizenship is implemented, it’s even more so. If Britain remained in the EU such insurance wouldn’t be required.” 

When The Local contacted Sweden’s Migration Agency about this, they said that Simon appeared to be misinformed. 

“People who are registered as living in Sweden (folkbokförd) are covered by the Swedish social insurance system and so as a result do not need to have their own comprehensive health insurance.” 

When Brits categorised as “self-supporting” and living in Sweden with post-Brexit residence status apply for certificates of permanent uppehållsrätt or Swedish citizenship in the coming years, the agency continued, they would not need to have had comprehensive health insurance over this period to qualify. 

“The requirement for comprehensive health insurance is fulfilled because the British citizen is registered as living in Sweden,” the agency wrote. 

We have also contacted the Swedish Tax Agency to ask them for their understanding of the requirements, and will update this article when we receive a response. 

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