“Immigrant welcoming schemes reduce job chances”

Immigrants who participate in council-run introduction programmes are reducing their chances of getting a job, according to new research from Örebro University.

Barely one fifth of immigrants who have attended the introduction programme have jobs two and a half years after getting a residence permit in Sweden.

The number of immigrants in work is twice as high in those groups who do not participate in the council programme, claims Elisabeth Svantesson, a postgraduate researcher in economics at the university.

Svantesson has examined the factors which increase immigrants’ chances of getting a job. The conclusions make dismal reading for the supporters of the local government schemes.

“For the groups of immigrants where the municipalities are paid by the state to run these introduction programmes, participation has a significantly negative impact on their chances of getting a job,” she told TT.

The primary reason, she believes, is a kind of “lock in” effect. Even if the new arrivals are able to look for a job while they are on the scheme, few actually do.

And in many areas, the programmes themselves are also at fault, according to Svantesson. In several places the course participants never even come into contact with the labour market.

“When we went further and researched whether there was anything in the programme which actually worked, it seemed that practical workplace experience increased the chances of getting a job. So then you have to ask why many people didn’t get this,” said Svantesson.

Her research was based on a survey of immigrants who received their residence permits in the spring of 2002, in the 52 municipalities which take in the most immigrants.