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'Employers do not discriminate against immigrants'

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10:12 CET+01:00
Private employers do not systemically discriminate against job-seekers with foreign names or a different skin colour than their own, according to a new report from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

The findings run counter to assertions made in a number of previous reports, including one completed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in December of last year.

In the ILO report it is claimed that individuals with parents from the Middle East need to apply for three times as many jobs as those with Swedish parents if they are to get to the second step of the application procedure.

"It is far too easy to blame immigrant unemployment on the prejudiced attitudes of employers. There are no statistics to support such a claim.

"Instead, immigrants to Sweden have difficulties gaining a foothold on the labour market because of ineffective integration policies and long waiting periods," said Farbod Rezania from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in a statement.

According to Sweden's foremost pro-business organisation, the number of immigrants employed in Sweden has been on the increase since the beginning of the 1990s.

"This can partly be explained by an improvement in attitudes among employers," said Rezania.

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise considers that employers have found themselves in the firing line as a result of the blunt tools used by government agencies to present labour market statistics.

"There is a correlation between employment and the number of years spent in Sweden. This is where the focus should lie, rather than lumping together all people with the same ethnic background regardless of whether they have been here for 15 years or a few months. It creates a false impression of the real situation," said Rezania.

Since it can take many years for a new immigrant to learn the language and assimilate into Swedish society, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is calling for a more nuanced debate on the issue.

"People with a good education should not have have to go through the same education in Sweden, but we do not currently have a functioning system of accreditation for foreign exams," said Rezania.

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