• Sweden edition
 
Malmö Somalis suffer integration 'black hole'
The Herrgården neighbourhood of Malmö. File: TT

Malmö Somalis suffer integration 'black hole'

Published: 31 Jan 2014 15:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Jan 2014 16:50 GMT+01:00

The Open Society Foundation published the report as part of a broader look at the Somali diaspora in Europe. It found that 80 percent of Somalis in Sweden's third largest city are out of work.

"Somalis are falling into a black hole in Malmö because they can't get jobs," report author Benny Carlsson of the Lund School of Economics and Management at Lund University told The Local. "(They don't get) opportunities to practice Swedish and meet Swedes, and are forced to live in crowded flats."

The situation fostered, Carlsson said, a "diminished overall sense of self-worth".

The report said Malmö authorities were not reaching out enough with the Somali community, with new arrivals not getting enough information to help them find work.

"Coming from a country with a very different economic and social structure has left many Somalis at a disadvantage when entering the job market in Sweden," Nazia Hussain, director of the Open Society Foundations’ At Home in Europe project, said in a statement.

On average, Somalis who move to Malmö have a lower education level than Somali immigrants in Stockholm, Carlsson noted. In Stockholm, 40 percent of Somalis have jobs -  double the Malmö rate. 

Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag gives a speech in Stockholm's Rinkeby neighbourhood. File photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

"Things are going better for Somalis in Stockholm than for those in Malmö," Carlsson said, but he added that Stockholm had a more buoyant job market. "There are more new arrivals in Malmö and they are competing for fewer jobs."

Referring to the report, Carlsson pointed out several positive findings. Among them, that Somalis value Malmö's religious tolerance, diversity, and relatively low cost of living.

"Most Somalis generally feel pretty safe and secure about having their home in Malmö," he said.

But the city's Somali population faces a number of related hurdles, he added. It can be difficult for newly arrived Somalis and other immigrants to find their way in the often all-encompassing and highly-compartmentalized Swedish bureaucracy.

"New arrivals need help with all sorts of things. They often don't know where to turn to get things fixed," he said, underlining that it wasn't just about the language barrier. "Many of the concepts and authorities are new too."

Carlsson said it was important to provide more information in languages other than Swedish. 

"There's no point in sending a five-page letter in Swedish informing them about an appointment," he said.

More Somali community-based organizations could also serve as a port of call for new arrivals, and could help its own staff develop leadership skills, which would serve them in future.

"Helping people start businesses can also help develop more leaders and role models. It takes a few to get things going, and then others will follow and provide hope," Carlsson said. "That allows them to break this vicious cycle."

The report also suggested working with existing businesses and institutions to make sure the Somalis don't fall foul of discrimination. Some would-be employers might consider easing language requirements for certain jobs, for example.

Malmö Deputy Mayor Andreas Schönström, who is responsible for employment and secondary education, welcomed the report, saying that it offered "new insights".

“I am convinced we are on the right track here in Malmö, but believe there is room to improve our policies," he said.

Lund researcher Carlsson went a step further, saying that not only city hall but the man on the street could help out. Especially the old man on the street. Getting Sweden's burgeoning population of retired baby boomers to do volunteer work could do just the trick, he argued.

"They've had good careers, are well-connected, know how things work, and have a lot more time on their hands," Carlsson said. "They don't just want to play golf, but are still interested in being engaged. Helping immigrants could be a great win-win volunteer opportunity."

Even a bit of less formal socializing could go a long way, he added.

"It's a common view among Somalis that Swedes are polite and friendly, but they are hard to get to know," he said. "If you have Somali neighbours, invite them to dinner."

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

National
Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions
A Gripen plane was scrambled to see off the Russian planes. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions

UPDATED: Sweden has summoned the Russian Ambassador for a dressing down after two Russian planes violated Swedish airspace last week. READ  

Elections 2014
'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

UPDATED: Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven says he is positive that his party can co-operate with the former governing Alliance on some issues. READ  

Lifestyle
Introducing...Astrid Lindgren
Pippi Longstocking comes to live at the Astrid Lindgren theme park. Photo: TT

Introducing...Astrid Lindgren

The creator of Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren, is the most translated author from Sweden, and has filled children's imaginations since the 1940s. The Local finds out why her work has become a timeless classic. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

864
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN