• Sweden edition
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Sweden's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
718
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
Jobless man must repay funds for taking Swedish

Jobless man must repay funds for taking Swedish

Published: 09 Oct 2010 22:36 CET

"I am basically screwed for the rest of my working life because I went to school (SFI) to learn Swedish (to fill in forms correctly). A-kassan [unemployment insurance] wants nearly 200,000 kronor back (one year in unemployment benefits) because I went to school for 79 hours, which SFI calls full-time," Richard Blaine told The Local in a statement.

"I think I filled in the forms wrong and with no feedback or control by either a-kassan, SFI, or Arbetsförmedlingen, it all hit the fan when I did an årsanmällan [annual notification]," he added.

Blaine, who lives in Åre in central Sweden west of Östersund near the Norwegian border, moved to Sweden in 2007 after living in the Netherlands for 20 years and speaks Dutch fluently, he told newspaper Länstidningen Östersund on Friday.

When he began his job as an electrician, he began to study Swedish for immigrants (Svenska för invandrare, SFI) one full day a week in nearby Järpen.

To do so, Blaine specified in his contract that he had to work one less day a week to learn Swedish properly so he could better integrate and become acquainted with the country's customs and traditions.

"I asked about evening study, but they don't have it. I had to take one day off work because there is no evening study," he told The Local.

At the end of 2008, Blaine lost his job. He stopped attending classes for three months because he was so upset. When he finally resumed, he attended classes for two to four hours a day, one day a week from late March to early June 2009 and then again for two to five hours a day, one day a week from early October to mid-December.

Altogether, he spent about 79 hours in class in 2009 - but that was apparently enough to disqualify him from his eligibility to receive unemployment benefits.

After losing his job, Blaine had registered at the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and received payouts from unemployment insurance based on his previous salary.

But his problems began when his unemployment insurance plan demanded an annual notification at the end of 2009.

Soon after filing the notification, Blaine learned that his unemployment insurance plan was demanding he repay the funds he received throughout the year because he had not informed it correctly about his studies.

Since the plan considered Blaine's actions fraudulently, he was also expelled from the plan and the police were notified. Blaine also claims that the insurance plan has also demanded interest and that he will likely be making payments likely until 2023.

Blaine is receiving help from the electricians' union to appeal the decision, but finding a resolution to the mess has taken a long time and doesn't appear headed toward a conclusion any time soon.

An arm injury made it difficult for him to continue working as an electrician, so he has worked as a mountain host, which he enjoys. However, it is not a job, but an initiative through the so-called job and development guarantee offering limited compensation from the regional social insurance office.

To avoid dealing with the Swedish Enforcement Administration (Kronofogden), Blaine has repaid the first installment to the insurance plan. He also wants the public to learn about what happened to him so that other SFI students do not face the same situation. As a result of his difficulties, he cannot risk returning to SFI.

"I just want this to end. I feel that they should change the rules to stop this happening to anyone else, maybe by only accepting students who have written permission first," Blaine told The Local.

In response, the insurance plan said that Blaine should have asked for help if he did not understand the process.

It added that it was only following the rules. It sees no extenuating circumstances in Blaine's case and considers that he acted fraudulently because he filled the form in incorrectly.

"The general rule is that anyone who is studying is not unemployed. Those who are studying cannot receive benefits," plan director Alexander Brockne told Länstidningen Östersund newspaper.

Brockne pointed out that there are exceptions, including part-time study and an affidavit submitted in advance of a willingness to suspend studies if one finds a job or if it clashes with the job search.

"If one does not submit such a declaration, it reverts immediately to the general rule that one is not entitled to benefits," Brockne told the newspaper.

Although he admitted that the rules may not be crystal clear to an English speaker, Brockne reiterated to the newspaper that anyone can ask for help from the organisation.

Brockne also clarified why it appeared Blaine was "punished" for studying one day a week when he was working the other four days.

"One should look for work full-time when he or she is unemployed in order to be entitled to the exemption under the part-time study provision. The fact that he needed to take time off from work suggests somewhat that he could not combine full-time work with his studies," Brockne told the newspaper.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

ADD YOUR COMMENT   (YOU MUST LOG IN OR REGISTER TO MAKE A COMMENT)
Your Swedish Career
When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world.
Jenna Iwanchuk had never visited Europe, let alone Sweden, before she moved from Canada to Gothenburg two years ago, she tells The Local. Now she runs a local pet shop ably assisted by her dog, Tindra.
US expat Faith George tells The Local about how she mastered the Swedish language, seeing the positives in being made redundant, and how she plans to show Swedes another side of the United States.
What does an eccentric Swedish farmer have in common with an Australian paleontologist? No, it's not a Ross from Friends joke, it's about a petrified fern and a career in scientific research in Sweden.
After six years studying medicine in Russia, Mumbai-born doctor Sandeep Jha chose Sweden over India for his career. He tells The Local about the chance encounter that lead him to the hidden beauty of cardiology.
US micro brewer Kevin Zelnio talks about the importance of Swedish contacts, how Swedes are Europe's most progressive beer makers, and how brewing beer in the Swedish forest makes him feel like Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Swedish Employment News
Sweden last year attracted more talent than it lost, with engineers topping the table of immigrants. In Europe, the biggest influx of professionals was to Germany, but a Middle Eastern country outperformed all surveyed markets.
"We have to hit the brakes and the gas at the same time." Does your Swedish boss confuse you? You're not alone. Swedes have crowned that phrase as the worst workplace cliché of the year.
What does an eccentric Swedish farmer have in common with an Australian paleontologist? No, it's not a Ross from Friends joke, it's about a petrified fern and a career in scientific research in Sweden.
Municipal staff in Gothenburg will act as guinea pigs in a proposed push for six-hour workdays with full pay, with hopes that it will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money.
Are you looking for a job in Sweden but having trouble with your CV? Here are the Swedish words you should avoid, courtesy of LinkedIn's annual list of "overrated" buzzwords.
A new survey looking at how Swedes feel about their job has put one profession far down on the bottom rung of well-being in the workplace.

Account Manager
EMG is seeking an English-speaking, ambitious and tenacious sales professional for its site Findcourses.co.uk. Location: Stockholm.
FULL JOB AD »

International Sales - Stockholm based
Marcus Evans is looking for International Sales Executives
FULL JOB AD »

THG is hiring for the Stockholm office!
THG is looking for International Sports Sales Executives to sell their VIP hospitality facilities at major sports events.
FULL JOB AD »

Jerrie
Göteborg
Stepstone
Added 07/25/14

Schibsted Media AB
Stockholm
Stepstone
Added 07/25/14

Dexterity
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Adecco
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Dexterity
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Prodiem
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Axis Communications
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Alten (fd Xdin)
Eastern US
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Adecco
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14

Alten (fd Xdin)
Eastern US
Careerbuilder
Added 07/24/14