October 17, 2007
I expected to see Sweden get high marks for its treatment and policies related to immigrants. Especially in a year where there has been alot of information published on how they are doing such a good job with welcoming Iraqi immigrants in particular.
But as a Portuguese citizen, not to mention a global citizen, I was surprised and somewhat pleased to see my country come in just behind Sweden according to the recent INTI report. While it certainly isn’t the most well off nation in the EU, for the last 10 years they have made some effort to tackle the issues related to how noncitizens can be made welcome and have access to social services, employment, housing, and more. The decisions and the governments during that time have been anything but consistent, yet somehow I feel like giving them a little credit based on this data.
Beyond Portugal, I was also surprised to find both Belgium and the Netherlands in the top 5 on that list. So often, especially here in Holland, the political rhetoric borders on xenophobia, which leads to the conclusion that this country is no longer a good destination for those looking for opportunity in a new land. Refugee acceptance and application stats reflect this over the past few years. However, it is a pleasant surprise to know that despite the rhetoric, the Netherlands still ranks high in Europe when it comes to facilitating the process of working and making one’s life in a new country.
Then again, perhaps I should take a more critical look at the criteria….Author : Mark F. Rendeiro