• Sweden edition

Refugees often left to find their own housing

Published: 10 Oct 2012 15:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Oct 2012 15:14 GMT+02:00

Only about a third of refugees in Sweden are living in apartments provided by the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), despite a government move two years ago which put the service in charge of providing all refugees with housing.

Newly arrived refugees with permanent residence permits should be allowed a first-hand contract on an apartment in a municipality that offers the chance of a job, according to the two-year-old reform.

But this reform has now been slammed by at least one local authority integration head who insists that the programme “takes too long” and leaves refugees alone in finding a home of their own.

Arbetsförmedlingen has failed in steering the flow of refugees to places with work and housing,” said Peter Göthblad, departmental head of integration in Trollhättan, western Sweden, to Sveriges Radio (SR).

“And then they end up here in Trollhättan, where many have relatives and friends to move in with. Two or three families live in the same apartment sometimes; I don’t even know how they do it.”

Meanwhile, Mathias Wahlsten of Arbetsförmedlingen explained that the programme is not working to its potential due to a lack of cooperation from the municipalities involved.

“We are often refused from several municipalities when we seek apartments for someone who has recently arrived,” he told SR.

“We can’t force the municipalities to arrange apartments.”

Wahlsten pointed to several difficulties for immigrants as a further reason for the reform’s under-performance.

“You have so many different things to sort out when you have just got a permanent residence permit. It helps to have housing organized. We’re trying to find housing at a place that suits the individual in terms of work and integration opportunities,” he told SR.

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Your comments about this article

16:42 October 10, 2012 by Greysuede
This asylum/refugee business sounds dodgy, eh....
16:44 October 10, 2012 by intrepidfox
A scandal that AF should help with flat hunting for refugees when ordinary people have problems getting flats. Let the buggers do as everyone else and find it them selves.
23:19 October 10, 2012 by frenchviking
I think it is goog to help refugees, but everyone would love a firsthand contract in a place where there are jobs... The queus are long!

It is hard foe all...
04:42 October 11, 2012 by MWolf
Its easy to make judgments about a situation when you don't take the perspective of refugees into consideration.

Refugees, by definition, have fled their homeland because they are no longer safe in the land they know as home. Try to imagine how this feels, leaving your home because of violence and unrest, political oppression, hatred, discrimination, persecution, etc. You leave your homeland for a strange place, one that has invited you most likely. You don't have a choice, you just go where you can get to in order to survive.

And when you get to this strange land, where people speak a vastly different language, look different, behave different, even eat different foods. You are told you can get a job to support yourself and your family, and that you'll have an apartment to stay in during the asylum application process - but you are turned away.

I bet many refugees feel quite depressed, to say the least, as a result of this. And its just xenophobia. It's fear of the unknown. It's failing to see what these people have gone through, what they endured in order to get to Sweden, to a new life. And imagine what they think about Sweden when a few people treat them nearly the same as they were treated in their homeland and were driven to seek asylum.

It's all very easy to just forget about the persective of refugees. But be warned, it's habit-forming. Keep ignoring the perspective of others and Sweden will end up like the United States. And, if you think Americans are people to look up to, you've obviously forgotten about your own history - your wonderful neighbors to the southeast, say about 70 years ago.
09:27 October 11, 2012 by occassional
What a lot of tosh.

Would they like a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of bubbly when handed over the keys to their free accommodation now or what?

Suicidal leftist twaddle.
09:34 October 11, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Refugees have more rights than native Swedes it seems. A right to have a first hand contract and the government to give them housing, money, jobs... with that sort of package then why would one not claim asylum or say you are persecuted in your country.

I wonder how long it will take for native Swedes to turn up at Danish and Norwegian embassies asking for asylum from a repressive government that insists on placing non-swedes ahead of natives. just unreal...
09:00 October 12, 2012 by Emerentia
I think a lot of them prefer to stay with friends and family. In some of the countries that the refugees come from it's not unusual to share a room. That way they could also save the money they get to send back home for other relatives to able to flee to..
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