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Most refugees jobless after 9 years: report

Clara Guibourg · 20 Jun 2011, 12:36

Published: 20 Jun 2011 12:36 GMT+02:00

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The report, undertaken by the Stockholm's County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) and published on Monday, also reveals that refugees who end up in the Stockholm area have had better luck finding work in comparison to refugees in other parts of the country.

On average, 44 percent of refugees who have arrived in Sweden in the last decade were employed after 9 years in the country, while in Stockholm County the corresponding figure as 54 percent.

While more refugees manage to find work in Stockholm compared with elsewhere in Sweden, the group's employment rate remains substantially lower than the 76 employment rate of the overall population in Stockholm County.

"There aren't any specific goals for how many refugees should be employed, but these figures compared with those of the general population are naturally very poor," Luiza Jastrzebska, from the County Administrative Board's expertise, labour and refugee department, told The Local.

Even though the refugee employment situation in Stockholm is better compared to the national average, county officials believe more needs to be done to help refugees find work.

"We must improve considerably when it comes to creating opportunities for a quick establishment in Swedish society. The Stockholm region needs everyone who can contribute to growth and development," county governor Per Unckel said in a statement.

The report also shows that less than 20 percent of refugees with some form of post-secondary education have a job which corresponds with their level of education.

In addition, the report reveals that refugee women arriving to Sweden have significantly greater difficulties than men when it comes to finding a job.

Refugees' earnings also lag behind those of the general population, according to the study.

After eight years in Sweden, refugees who arrived in Stockholm County in 2000 has an average annual income of 135,000 kronor ($20,800), compared to annual earnings 221,000 kronor for the county's population as a whole.

"Our report points out several problems, but we can also see a number of bright spots," said Jastrzebska.

"For instance, income through labour is the most common form of income among refugees after a period of introduction, and the longer time spent in Sweden, the bigger the chances of having found work."

Jastrzebska added that it's difficult to compare Sweden's performance compared to other European nations' refugee employment levels for several reasons, including varying definitions of the term "refugee".

"Also, this is a unique study. Usually, this sort of study measures employment among foreign-born citizens, not specifically refugees. That small group is often overlooked in studies," she said.

Story continues below…

According to Unkel, it's important that more be done to get refugees into the job market more quickly "in part of the individual's sake, but also for society's".

"We heading toward a situation where more and more sectors in society are suffering from a lack of competence and labour," he said in a statement.

"Everyone is needed and the way to work and self-sufficiency for new arrivals must be shortened."

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

14:44 June 20, 2011 by Swedesmith
Are we really helping?
14:53 June 20, 2011 by RobinHood
"The Stockholm region needs everyone who can contribute to growth and development," .... "Everyone is needed ..." Stockholm county governor Per Unckel

If after nine years you still can't find a job in a region that needs people, it must be time to reevaluate whether what you have actually been doing these last nine years is time well spent. If the answer is no, it's surely time to do something useful instead.
14:56 June 20, 2011 by flintis
Can't find work or won't find work?

The work situation in Sweden is getting worse & the more people they let in the worse it will get.

The people that won't find work just leach off the rest of us & the Gov should rectify the problem, those who want to but can't find work should look elsewhere before depression sets in.
15:05 June 20, 2011 by occassional
If state handouts are attractive then perhaps there is no incentive. That and the fact that Arbetsförmedlingen are about as useless as tits on a fish surely contribute something to the discussion.
15:06 June 20, 2011 by si
I would venture toward the "can't" perspective, It's difficult enough to be english, white and find qualified work in Sweden. It's very much about who u know and connections. It's the first job that's tough to find - and for non-swede, non-english, non-white it must be nigh on impossible..
15:20 June 20, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:31 June 20, 2011 by james7
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:52 June 20, 2011 by Mib
Thre are many isues such as if you're an immigrant coming from a terrible place and now you live in peace with a state provided home and other benefits, then some will feel very satified.

Other immigrants see opportunties and manage to set themselves up as businesses and do very well due to hard work. Then there is a big majority who simply cannot get work because of the lack of Swedish, lack of education, not having the right colour of skin or beng non-Swedish. I suspect after several years of searching for work, I would probably give up if I felt no-one would take me on, because my name is not Sven Eriksson etc.

Some idiots suggest it's a benefit issue or the minimum wages negotiated by Unions are too high and should be reduced for immigrants. I'm sure there is an element of truth, but for the mjority it isn't. The best way is to go with a 3 prong approach. For every job that is advertised, the Government has a department who send in various CVs representing typical immigrants with varying qualifications and if they find that the company is discriminating against non-Swedes, then fine them €10,000 Euros for each infringement. On the other side of the coin, once the first part has been going for several months, get anyone unemployed who can ork to show proof they are looking for work everyday during the week. If they show no proof....cut their benefits! For those who are applying for work and not succeeding due to education or lack of Swedish, then force them to attend courses or lose their benefit. Attach a bonus if they achieve accrediation within a year.

Finally, reduce employers tax contributions on salaries for all employees. Start up incentive schemes for comapnies to take people on for 12 months and get tax relief incentives.

If all the above does not work, then the corrupt politicians must be removed and we start again. Because...laws/rules are useless without enforcement. Do it and do it now!!
16:41 June 20, 2011 by yyyvxyyy
first of all this word 'refugee' is politically used in this news to get attention of tax payers. it is generally about immigrants including reugee forigners, skilled and non skilled but they are not jobless ... how a person can be jobless after 8 yers , after all they are living.

1:-they are trap in black market because of faliour of govt

2:- they dont trust govt for their future so they hide their economic profile.

3:- some of them are greedy and using others as well without documents.

4:- integration is not working better then black market.

5:- govt intent to save mony with reducing pay cutting parental leaves from immigrant and this news is part of that policy

6:- look around in your socity in market they spend equal even more on their families but they dont trust govt and show themself unemployed.

7:- swedish people dont give them jobs so they work like an other comunity who also dont participate with them.

8:- they get odd jobs so how they can show more income then other people.

9:- very qulified imiigrants people are also jobless
17:51 June 20, 2011 by jostein
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:54 June 20, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:31 June 20, 2011 by Bettyinsweden
When I attended SFI in Norrköping at least one guy would toss his books to the top of a closet at the end of the day. How can a person possibly learn anything that way. He had been in the class for six years and it was the beginners!
18:53 June 20, 2011 by technoviking
@ yyyvxyyy

Then going home sounds like a very smart option.
19:06 June 20, 2011 by Brtahan
Why always they point out negative things , Find solutions instead . Why not right an article that immigrants even refugees own 90 procent of restaurants in sweden! or 50 procent of the night clubs? or 50 procents of the cafes? Or are we blind in one eye!!!
19:06 June 20, 2011 by wenddiver
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:33 June 20, 2011 by skatty
Even thought; I believe this report is valuable to be considered, but there are still the same old problems: the lack of solutions, the contradictions between different report about the same facts, misunderstandings, and misdirect ions for political reasons.

As an example one of the contradictions is the focus on self-sufficiency for new arrivals, even though the article mentions that the refugees are jobless after 9 years, which means even after 9 years the chance to be self-sufficient would not be high with all the received programs. In one hand, the article suggest that refugees are not self-sufficient, and in another hand the report mention that 80% of refugees apply for SFI and 20% study at University, 20% in some kind of adult education-programs, or high schools (page 8).

Now, the interesting matter is that the article mention refugees with higher education have better chance to get job, even though less that 20% get a job matched with their education after 8 years in Sweden (page 39)!

It means generally refugees follow the guide lines and participate in the programs to be self-sufficient, but still after 9 years can't be self-sufficient. The Swedish way to look at the problem is to put the blame on the market or refugees, and this is the worst problem.

If somebody try to find out what groups are classified as refugees in Sweden (who are not a small group!) then it would be easy to realize why refugees have problem to find job after 9 years in Sweden, no matter what guide lines they follow in 2 years or 10 years!
20:12 June 20, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
"the lack of solutions"

In order to find solutions to any nation's biggest problems, you have to be willing to fundamentally change policy. That is hard to do when big government policy gets a head of steam behind it. Like trying to turn around a fully-loaded oil tanker on a dime.

For example, in the U.S., to solve big foreign relations and federal budget problems, we COULD fundamentally change policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring all of our troops home immediately.

The Swedish government COULD fundamentally change certain policies in order to begin alleviating the problem identified in this news article.

But such watershed changes in government policy are not easy to precipitate.
20:21 June 20, 2011 by jamesblish
Not really useful information unless we know what sort of skill and/or education these people have. We need to help all people, regardless of where they come from. Not by creating jobs because I don't think we can. But by helping them help themselves and make a living doing whatever it is that they're good at.
20:59 June 20, 2011 by unseen
@ jamesblish,

take me for example;

3 years in Sweden, got my first (and last) job after only 4 months, worked for 6 months then decided (like an idiot) to move a bit warmer, down south.

lost my job, registered unemployed for 2 years now. desperately trying to find myself any kind of job (anything, seriously anything).

my background: academically, Bachelor degree (qualified teacher)...back home (Iraq), worked for almost all American military institutions (you name it) & the Iraqi ones as well.

i am so willing to find myself a job.

have no integration issues, certainly not religious issues.

my Swedish is no better than my English, but i am working so hard to fix it.
21:25 June 20, 2011 by skatty

By the way, immigration is not always about all immigrants to get job. There are different policies and different reasons to get immigrants for different countries. Sometimes to have an army of unemployed ready for job, or looking for job all the times is the purpose of governments; regulate inflation and bring down the price of labors, when the worker price rise. Some times for the sake of population and the increase of the old aged in a country, immigration would be considered as a solution. Sometimes, corporate wants to get special workers and skills. Sometimes, just to increase the competition and create new businesses, new ideas by the other kind of people.

Now; in the case of Sweden, the authorities have some particular reasons, and as a custom in Sweden they don't have an interest to declare why they are looking for immigrants. As far as, Sweden needed blue collar labour force for its factories, the country brought immigrants from Europe (mostly neighbouring countries) and when its factories didn't need any more working class immigrants, it replace the immigrants with the refugees, even though the job market has not really been satisfactory. The authorities in Sweden have never declared that it needs refugees, but justify the world conflicts and the humanitarian policy of Sweden the reason of their action; even though Swedes don't really seem appreciated of the authority's decisions, by considering the fact that a refugee has to suffer for more than 9 years to look for a job. Should this situation be considered beneficial for a refugee or a Swede or for none of them? You can look at the answer from different point of views, depends to your condition of life, your visions and expectations, as much as any Swede, refugee or immigrant does!
22:33 June 20, 2011 by calebian22

They write about the negative aspects of the refugee experiment in Sweden, because it is a disaster. Both sides, left and right will blame the other, Sweden doesn't do enough or the refugees don't integrate. That frankly doesn't matter at the outset. The fact is refugees are not highly employed in Sweden. The solution is apparently found on both sides of the aisle. Mine is with SD. Yours, well, that is for you to decide.
22:58 June 20, 2011 by Pro-alliance
A situation where economically useful immigrants aren't put to use is damaging for these individuals but even more damaging for the country. Government needs to spend on them but can't benefit in return as they can't contribute to tax incomes nor can they free up finances by working enough to support themselves. The latter option is much better than the initial option which seems to be the case as of now. Immigrants should know that without adequate competency in Swedish, they're putting themselves at a disadvantage. The transition from inexperience to an experienced employable worker can be made up through credible volunteering work with paid expenses and meaningful work done that employers trust. I think it is just not good for more people to be out of work (for various reasons) who could help themselves with the right and effective assistance- it leads to all sorts of unforeseen issues.
23:25 June 20, 2011 by astra2thor6
Many of the invandrare who entered Sweden over the last 10 years come from countries which, according to Transparency International, are perceived to be the most corrupt in the world. Further many are unable to read or write their own native language, they have no concept of paying taxes, and, I suspect, that many do not know, or wish to know that their bidrag is derived from Swedish taxpayers.

What percentage of invandrare want to integrate into Swedish society, and what are they doing to facilitate their integration? To claim social security payments in the UK, the unemployed had to provide physical evidence of their efforts ,every week at the local Job Centre. No evidence, no benefits! But I guess that the Swedish administration would shun such a draconian concept!

What is Sweden trying to accomplish with its immigration policy? Does it allow immigrants to enter Sweden for humanitarian reasons? If "Yes!" What future does the government envisage for immigrants when unemployment is running at its highest level for over a decade? Are they allowed to enter Sweden as part of an EU agreement? Or does the scb forecast that the country needs a large number of uneducated immigrants to offset the expected imbalance caused by the ageing population? Could someone explain the current immigration policy!
00:49 June 21, 2011 by technoviking
Educated immigrants with in demand skills are the only immigrants that should be allowed in.
01:35 June 21, 2011 by Swedesmith
I see homeless people on the street and give them a few bucks to get by. I don't invite them into my home.
05:14 June 21, 2011 by Playmaker
lets blame everyone execpt the refugees who have lived here for 9 years and have no wish to go back home, but still have not learned swedish. they dont trust the goverment but they will suck the milk from the teet of the govt. suck it dry. and if it is so bad then i can see that we pay for the plane ride back home.

Finland has a great refugee policy.
06:09 June 21, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
The bottom line is that 56% of refugees are not contributing, but are a drain on the Swedish tax payer. Is it their fault or should the Swedish politicians be reviewing their standards?
07:49 June 21, 2011 by jostein
Whats in it for me? What do i gain by these immigrants my taxdollars support? To me it seems like a net loss and a threat.
08:15 June 21, 2011 by Nemesis
In Sweden real unemployment amongst Swedes is still high. There is a lot of distortion of the real unemployment figures by the use of Praktik and other schemes.

Immigrants in jobs are usually on praktik schemes, which they are regularly cycled through.

Swedish employers will always hire a Swede before someone from another country.

Even those who speak perfect Swedish, are white and from Northern Europe will find themselves discriminated against. A lesser qualified Swede will quite often be choosen over the better qualified foreigner. That is more common than most care to admit.

If a person is non-white, they have a real problem with Swedish employers. Stockholm is about the only city they have a chance of getting a job.

On a CV a non-Swedish name might as well be labelled for the recycling bin.

Outside Stockholm it is really bad, if not Swedish.

@ jostein

Taxdollars are nothing to do with this. This article is about Sweden and the local is about Sweden. The USA which uses tax dollars is on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
10:03 June 21, 2011 by jostein
For those that are unlucky when they think:

tax SEKs
10:04 June 21, 2011 by yyyvxyyy

1:- Language gives a hop but when most immigrants find that their previous fellows who know the language still in hard time they give up.

2:- mostly employers check swedish name on Cv and somtimes ask for a picture so this practice should be changed

3:- every job offer should just insist on just personal number and qualification, without writing name or other ethnic identity on your CV

4:- applicants Ques , data and selection criteria should be open sourced for everyone

5:- some details about personal contract time, schedule, pay hours should be public to participate against black market.

there should be equal chance for immigrants before you blame them
10:36 June 21, 2011 by Puffin

"Draconian concept "what are you on? You don't know a lot about Sweden do you? Sweden is way tougher than the UK in this respect

Weekly trip to the job centre - don't make me laugh - in Sweden you would have to add the following:

- a weekly list of all the jobs you have applied for

- compulsory unpaid work to "earn" your benefits - what do you think all those guys collecting litter on the motorways are doing it for?

- compulsory classes and courses that you are forced to take or you lose your benefits - and the social worker often turns up at random intervals to check up you are attending

- having to ask permission from your social workers for large purchases such as a car or DVD etc

- if you turn down a job or fail to turn up at a compulsory course then you lose your benefits for 90 days

The main problem for Sweden is that unemployment is high among the whole population - even the well educated/fluent Swedish speakers cannot get a permanent job
10:42 June 21, 2011 by technoviking
@ yyyvxyyy

Return home and you have to don't worry about how hard it is here anymore.
11:32 June 21, 2011 by yyyvxyyy
@ technoviking

i am global citizen , i owe part of my self for sweden because i qualified here , i also have to stop/rebuke people like you for discriminate against other because we human inherent earth and earth need us.
11:40 June 21, 2011 by simpleandeasy
The workforce is higher than available jobs, which is 100% a function of tax policies in a welfare state. It kills innovation, drive out business, reduces employees ability to recruit more etc. Therefore, even the Swedes cannot find reasonable jobs, not to mention immigrants. Such a scenero breeds nationalistic instincts and favouratism in the sytem, and the immigrants are the losers.
12:17 June 21, 2011 by technoviking
@ yyx

Well Sweden is a sovereign country.

Your "global citizen" passport is useless here.
15:39 June 21, 2011 by soultraveler3
Comments 24 and 29 hit the nail on the head.
16:10 June 21, 2011 by prince T
Techno, how did you know they are not swedish citizen. Everybody pay the same tax and there is no foreigner tax in sweden. How are you sure Tchno has a job in the first place. I can see that techno have all the time to sit by TL and respond to every question. The lazy and jobless people most of the time are the ones blaming immigrants for economic problems in the country.
19:55 June 21, 2011 by astra2thor6
Puffin, Thank you for putting me right, but please explain how an unemployed invandrare can afford to buy a car.

Re unemployment amongst invandrare, Jan Ekberg, Professor of Economics at Linnea University was tasked by the Government to assess the impact of immigration upon the national economy. He found that unemployment amongst invandrare was significantly higher than among Swedish born citizens. Further it cost around 50 billion kronor during 2009, or between 1.5-2% of GDP, to support unemployed invandrare and their families. He opines that unemployment will continue between 6-10% in Sweden for the foreseeable future.

My concern is that the practice of inviting people to immigrate to Sweden when there are few jobs available to them will lead to a disaffected second generation minority open to extreme persuassions.
10:15 June 22, 2011 by pauldavid
anyone can find a job in sweden if they are willing to work. i came here from ireland and was working within 6 weeks, the only delay was waiting for my personnel number to come through, if a man is willing to work there are no end of construction firms and labouring firms and scaffolding firms looking for bodies! they all pay between 120 and 140 sek a hour which is surely better then going on the dole, im working for a firm now that respects hard work like most construction firms and pays me 30,000 a month after tax, i still have next to no swedish because i have not had time to go to lessons! i know eastern europeans and a few north africans with no skills who just came and asked for work on various sites around stockholm and they end up with jobs, granted it might only be 6 or 7 months of the year but its work,, there are jobs here in bars where you dont need swedish as cleaners,glass collectors ect, there are snow clearance jobs in winter there are the go around petrol stns\shops doing quality control,granted none of these are high or even well paid but its STILL WORK . i know about refugees, i spent nearly 10 years in the british army before going home to ireland and i have seen first hand the places these people come from in africa,the middle east and the balkans and i genuinely feel sorry for them but enough is enough, if you wanna work then there is work there and don't give me any of that racist crap about swedes not hiring foreigners, a boss no matter what the company or business is interested in profit, if he gets staff that are willing to show initiave and work no matter what the job from company director to the guy sweeping out the pub floor every morning he will hire him!

9 years unemployed is just bone idle lazyness, 1 year unemployed is the same,if you cant do the job you want or are qualified to do, do something-anything till you can do it.
06:05 June 23, 2011 by Playmaker
i 100% agree with you. it only took me 6 weeks after i moved here for the states with my swedish wife. i looked for 1 week. made like 20 phone calls or so. i am a electrican by trade and am making bank here in stockholm. love it more then the states. i have been here 6 yrs. speak bad swedish but it has rarely been a problem. if you want it bad enough it will happen. maybe you have to give in a little change your name try to fit in as much as possible. and beside if we ever need this big workforce i would rather get it from e. europe
09:19 June 23, 2011 by Keith #5083

Right on!

The other factor is the report presumably refers to 'officially jobless'. As Brtahan #14 points out, there is plenty of work (albeit in job areas with a tradition and history throughout europe of being somewhat grey - if not entirely black).

I came from UK, have never claimed any benefits from Swedish taxpayers - and get a little p****d off with other 'immigrants' who boast about drawing benefits whilst working black.

In this sense there has been absolutely no problem with integration!

There is work if you want it - or if you don't already have it - officially.
13:25 August 25, 2011 by Marc the Texan

Refugee is not a term to raise the ire of taxpayers. Being a 'refugee' grants you preferential treatment and allows you to remain in a country and draw benefits. People who do not qualify as refugees do not get the same level of preferential treatment. So if you're not a refugee then you don't deserve the privileges granted to refugees.
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