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Sweden launches integration policy reform

Sweden launches integration policy reform

Published: 01 Dec 2010 13:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Dec 2010 13:31 GMT+01:00

The Swedish government has launched a "sweeping" reform of integration policy, shifting the main responsibility for immigrant "establishment" in the country on the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

"We will move from a handholding mentality where people from the other countries have been considered weak individuals to a focus on people quickly finding a job," integration minister Erik Ullenhag said on Wednesday.

Ullenhag recognised that the system has had its faults when welcoming new arrivals to Sweden.

"We thus need a system which strengthens the new arrivals' possibilities to succeed during their first period in Sweden," he said.

In presenting the reform sub-titled "self-obligation with professional help”, Ullenhag underlined that Sweden ”shall continue to be an open and tolerant society”.

The reform comes into force on Wednesday and promises the ”most radical changes to Swedish integration policy in 25 years”.

According to the reform, the Public Employment Service will take over responsibility from municipalities for coordinating establishment efforts. The Service will together with the individual immigrants develop a personal establishment plan to ease the move into work and into society.

The government has introduced a new state remuneration which is equal for all new arrivals regardless of where in the country they reside and dependent on participation in various establishment programmes, which will include a course in society orientation.

Erik Ullenhag furthermore argued on Wednesday that the government needs to review legislation covering the wearing of the niqab headscarf in schools, following a decision by the Equality Ombudsman (DO) that ruled a ban to be in contravention of anti-discrimination laws.

According to the ruling, "kicking a student out of class simply because she was wearing a niqab, without taking into account the specific circumstances of her participation, violates the law against discrimination,” Equality Ombudsman Katri Linna wrote in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Ullenhag is not however at ease with DO's interpretation of the law, the newspaper reported.

”The Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) and I think that we should have a regulatory framework in Sweden which enables a rector or teacher to be able to refuse to allow full-body clothing.”

Liberal Party leader, Jan Björklund in the summer called for a ban on the niqab in schools, but the party is currently not in agreement with its Alliance coalition partners on the issue.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:22 December 1, 2010 by MegaSchmegma
So the most incompetent bureaucracy in Sweden (Arbetsförmedlingen) is now responsible for integration as well as employment? This should work out well! Hahahaha
14:33 December 1, 2010 by Syftfel
The story is short on detail. What's considered successful integration, and who's to judge? What will be done with those who fail to integrate? Will "integration" include cultural indoctrination? Thn Equality Obudsman appears to have opinions different from of those of most Swedes as it reklates to the niqab. Does she know better than the rest of us? The 'Public Employment Service' records on doing anything is dismal. How can we trust it to handle "integration" in a fair manner? How can we be assured that this will not be yet another top-heavy bureaucracy with a bunch of overpaid Party members with sinecures doing nothing? Is there a concrete measuruing stick we can all monitor to ensure succcess?
14:56 December 1, 2010 by Alf Garnett
More polictical madness, which planet do these people live on, who's reality do they live in???
15:46 December 1, 2010 by calebian22
Praktikanter för alla! (AF motto)
00:09 December 2, 2010 by Ravioli
@Syftfel@ I also have the same questions as you. I think that "What will be done with those who fail to integrate?" is probably the most important. question. The ones who are currently failing to integrate (we all know who they are) will continue to live as they do without the threat of repercussions. Deportation has to be on the table as a possibility, especially for those found guilty of rape, theft or violent acts. A 3-5 year limit on socialbidrag would be nice to see as well.
08:41 December 2, 2010 by Rap43
MegaSchmegma said:

"Hahahaha"

This about sums it up I think.
08:47 December 2, 2010 by Dom har glömt
@Ravioli I agree and then some.
11:52 December 2, 2010 by Roy E
Utopians have opened a pandora'a box. Oh, the ugly messes and misery that do-gooders cause. They just can't help themselves.
11:55 December 2, 2010 by graywolf
Let's do the un-Swedish thing and tell it like it is. Legislation is understood by all to have the inability to foist change on a relectant public.The overwhelming majority of ethnic Swedes and for that matter, ethnic Brits, French, Germans, Swiss etc neither want nor need this influx of most often unqualified immigrants with alien cultures that our governments see fit to impose on us. Our

only defence is non-compliance. Attitudes will not change, and immigrants must

understand that they can land but suffer the consequences.
02:31 December 6, 2010 by jaysea32
It is neither incumbent upon nor advisable for the government to compromise its folkways ( i.e., standards) to accommodate immigrants. These people are, afterall, coming into the country voluntarily and should be willing to accept some changes in lifestyle whatever the differences might be.
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