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Swedish language skills no prerequisite for a job

The Local · 13 Jul 2011, 13:20

Published: 13 Jul 2011 13:20 GMT+02:00

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The notion that one must first of all acquire fluent Swedish to be able to work is a barrier to integration. Language development and work has to occur in tandem.

The government has touted the ambition to improve SFI classes (Swedish for Immigrants). This is a sound ambition. However, that both illiterate and university-educated immigrants sit together in the same class room and receive Swedish language training, can hardly be regarded as a good education.

Sure it is important to learn Swedish if one is considering building a future in Sweden. But is it important to learn Swedish first? That is to say, before the integration process can commence? Judging by the statements from most political parties in recent years, the answer is yes. Such a resounding yes, that any questioning of it would be regarded as nigh on provocative.

Sure, it can, purely intuitively, appear to be a successful model to suggest that integration is something which occurs gradually. First you need to learn the language, then look for a job, get a job, and then be considered an integrated citizen. The problem is that the model doesn’t work in reality. Those advocating it work on premises which are totally unrealistic, such as, for example, that you can learn a language in classroom, as an adult. You can’t.

The acquisition of a language works best through meetings and conversations with those who speak the foreign language as a mother tongue. This is something everybody knows... in reality.

How many people have learned French for several years in school and still can’t do much more than order a restaurant meal? It is however shown that a year as a student or an au pair in, for example a French family, works wonders for language abilities. Here we are talking about young people who already have an advantage when it comes to learning a foreign language. A 35-year-old is already faced with significant disadvantages.

Work is the best path to integration. Aside from the income and the boost to self-confidence, a job also provides the best possibility to learn the new language. Many people argue that there are professions where strong Swedish is necessary, and that is certainly the case. The example of the doctor is a commonly cited one in this context, but it is far from all immigrants who fit this professional category.

It has become accepted practice to require fluent Swedish regardless of professional affiliation, and to exclude people from the labour market when this can’t be proven. However, communication skills are not acquired through speech alone. It also requires the willingness to listen as well - listen to those who are trying to make themselves understood in broken Swedish.

In a report by Sveriges Radio’s Studio Ett programme in April, we were introduced to two Iraqi men - Ali and Taha - who both emigrated to Sweden in 2006. Taha had done exactly “as he was supposed to do”, i.e. pursued an SFI course and then applied for work, as well as move to a smaller town, but was still without a job five years later, despite the fact that he wanted to work.

Ali had however refused to attend SFI, refused to live on benefits, and insisted on living in Stockholm. It turned out that way as well. Ali never took benefits, has been working for several years, and runs his own convenience store in Östermalm.

The report presented a thought-provoking and touching portrait of two people who had chosen to follow two completely different routes towards establishing themselves in their adopted country. While it provides no simple solutions, and dictates no particular agenda, one thing is clear - SFI has not been the integration elixir for either of the men, and neither for their wives.

Taha's Swedish would appear to be better than Ali’s at this point in time, but Ali’s prospects of improving his Swedish in the future are likely to be greater than Taha’s, as Ali has a job and comes into contact with Swedes on a daily basis, while Taha is stuck in a system where SFI courses are intertwined with short apprenticeships and what he describes as “ridiculous talking shop courses”, where they cut out pictures and make collages about Sweden.

Story continues below…

The years pass and one can’t help but wonder how much better Taha’s Swedish and job prospects can become while stuck in permanent alienation?

A shift in attitudes towards immigrant language abilities can’t be achieved by legislation and directives alone. They are however required if integration is to occur, for real.

“Talk is silver, silence is golden” is a phrase uttered from time to time in our country, but it sounds a little dated and peculiar. The expression should instead be “talk is silver, to listen is golden”. Then perhaps a mentality may develop where work and language acquisition occurred simultaneously.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website. English translation by The Local

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Your comments about this article

17:31 July 13, 2011 by Stanley2410
This article is very correct, the process of working while undergoing an SFI program can enhance ones learning and speaking ability but procuring a job after the completion of sfi is totally retrogressive.
17:31 July 13, 2011 by RJLilley
I have just moved to Sweden from the UK. I have been here 5 weeks, working for 2 of them as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. My Swedish has come on sooooo much just from being around other Swedes and listening to them talk in a work environment. I'm learning so much more quickly than when I was just studying. It's a no brainer. The sooner you are placed in an environment where you are 'forced' to learn Swedish the quicker it will come.
17:35 July 13, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
Mmmmm...someone in Sweden has FINALLY started thinking out of the BOX..Let's see what comments his suggestions "draw" from thelocal enthusiasts.
17:43 July 13, 2011 by Stanley2410
@RJLilley that is precisely what i am talking about. You're very lucky RJLilley just 5 weeks stay in sweden u had gotten a job, atleast you have somewhere u can maximise your potentials. Many have being here for many months or years who simply could not get a job because of the requirement of diploma certicate from their employers.
18:53 July 13, 2011 by voiceofreason
Full integration does not occur until the second or third generation, the Irish, Italians and other emigres to the US are a classic example of this.

I would like to be fluent in Swedish but my first priority is food, clothing and shelter for me and my family.
19:17 July 13, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
@Voice of Reason.

You said it all.

Food, clothing, and shelter means getting a paid job FIRST. Then with a settled mind and dignity, you feel MOTIVATED to learn additional language skills that enable you get an even better Job.

Thumbs Up...People on this forum re doing some real thinking.
19:40 July 13, 2011 by rekcah
This was a great article for me to read. My step father is Swedish and my mother is a dual citizen with America and Sweden. My wife and I work in the I.T field. We are currently learning Swedish. Our plan is to learn the language and start looking for work over the next 6 years. We know it will not be easy since we are both in our mid 30's so learning a second language is difficult but I refuse to move to another country until I feel that I can fully integrate into the society. One of the reason that I read this site is to help me understand both the lifestyle and politics of Sweden. I look forward to leaving California and joining Sweden as soon as possible.
20:08 July 13, 2011 by calebian22
More than half of my SFI B class were immigrants that worked in Sweden for 5 to 18 years (one case), and were then unemployed. Learning Swedish phrases, like pick this up, set this there, etc, is not learning the language. I am not sure which reality this author is referring too.
07:04 July 14, 2011 by summerboy
@calebian22 which side are you? Be clear about your position... are you clueless or what?? . This article is the best evaluation ever given about language & integration in this country. For once someone sensible and intelligent is talking!!! Not those clowns that are asking for low wages for immigrants; so they can be employed. This is a well written op-ed in English. Keep it up Local!
07:23 July 14, 2011 by Grokh
if it wasnt for sfi i wouldnt know half the swedish i know, however it is truth that i could know way more if they didnt put me with bunch of illiterate people and people from countries that do not use "western alphabet".

the big fail on this is thinking that people will be integrated after getting job and knowing the language. integration goes a little further than that, for starters one must consider a muslim that thinks honor killing is ok ,but speaks swedish and has a job in sweden, is not integrated.

if i get thrown in the jobmarket ill just speak english as most swedes love to speak english. Also one must consider how some people actually only know their language and then learn another because they have no choice, whereas someone who speaks their mother tongue + english fluently and then has to learn swedish finds himself stuck in english because everyone will use english first.
09:50 July 14, 2011 by skatty
From the article; I conclude that the author believes the integration occurs gradually, first by the language and then looking for a job.

I still wonder what really Swedes are looking and expecting from integration of immigrants. If the point is to get a job, then you should consider the situation in market, locally and globally. I mean an immigrant may be able to speak Swedish very well, and still be unemployed (which is in many cases in Sweden). And an immigrant may speck Swedish terribly and be employed (like many, who have low level jobs)! Locally, there are discrimination, racism, and lack of job, an unwillingness to give job to the refugee-immigrants (who most recent immigrants are). And globally, there are market issues which affect all countries (unemployment, and finance).

I think the first important issue is to understand what one wants to do with a language.

I mean language is an instrument for communication and expression (not the mother tongue, but a second or third language). People use and lean a second language for different purposes. Actually, many of non-Scandinavian working class labors in Sweden in 50s and 60s could not speak Swedish, and nobody cared about it, as far as they could do their jobs without a problem (and mostly could)!

If one consider building a future in Sweden or not, depends both to the immigrants and Swedes, not just to the immigrants in their ability to speak Swedish. After all, you can speak Swedish just in Sweden and with Swedes, in contrast with English or French language, which you can use in different labor markets, and in a larger labor market!
12:39 July 14, 2011 by underskyofsweden
Actually, There is no INTEGRATION in practice!

We have only encounter or contrast of different cultures and societies! Integration means involvement and it never happens even with language ability or getting a job and so on.

A Swede is always a Swede and a Somalian will be a Somalian forever...They have fundamental differences in way of living and way of thinking! If we think that within immigration process they will be fully-changed mentally, it's wrong! The immigrants all over the world just adapt to their new environment, make a new life in terms of shape and color and change just a few attitudes and habits. The rest will be unchanged forever.

Language abilities are just an effective tool to reach your goals in a new society. It helps to communication but not to integration!
13:22 July 14, 2011 by EUciticen
The idea that, learn the local language, have to be mandatory to get a job is essentially wrong. I have been working in several EU countries and in all of them I got the job first and latter working in an environment where the local language was daily spoken I learn very fast. The contact in the working place was very efficient to learn the language, by far more than any course I attended.

Here it seems that many contractors want to give jobs according to your language skills (regarding to Swedish). However learn Swedish is unfortunately not a warranty to get a job in Sweden. Learn Swedish make sense if we have to work and live here. From a global point of view Swedish is useless to live in other countries and is only spoken for about 9 million people.

First we have to get a job to live with dignity and latter take some time to learn the language. For sure will not be too much time talking every day.
13:39 July 14, 2011 by underskyofsweden
@EUciticen: Totally agreed!
16:52 July 14, 2011 by bolababu
i really like the article but in my personal experience, SFI actually did wonders for me. 8 out of ten immigrants in SFI classes don't take the course seriously, some come just toget paid their handouts as mandatory, others just need to go somewhere everyday but then everyone wants a job.

my point is that even if Swedish should not be required as a pre-requisite to finding a job, in this era where the only thing staff at arbetsformedlingen do these days is drink coffee, it would be a wise thing to learn Swedish first so you can effectively search for a job. i went to SFI while holding on to blue-collar jobs that barely put food on the table, learned Swedish, looked for a better job after just six months in SFI and i got it. SFI is not totally useless the way it is right now, people should also change their attitude towards learning Swedish, i mean i have friends who are still stuck in SFI grund after 4 years, thats just ridiculous especially since they could read and write before now.
17:03 July 14, 2011 by calebian22

I am on the side of anecdotal reality. There is a difference between a job and a career. Often a job (Factory work, cleaning industry, etc., jobs that immigrants often fill in Sweden) requires little skill in Swedish other than a rudimentary level. That rudimentary level rarely increases. A career is not something that you get without a high level of Swedish. That level is usually only achieved by plugging away at Komvux. You may not like the reality of living abroad, and having to learn Swedish first, but one op ed by a linguist is not going to change things any time soon.

Hmm, I studied 4 terms at Komvux, learned Swedish, got a job as a robotics service technician, and now work daily in the same career path I had before coming to Sweden. That doesn't equate to clueless in my book. I am an example of what the government wants from it's immigrants. It wasn't easy, but nothing worth while is ever easy. Good luck to you.
22:36 July 14, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
@ EVERYBODY...The point here is not whether or not to learn Swedish.

The point is that the Government uses Language as a path to a career in Sweden, but the employers make a mockery of the Government's efforts to achieve this.

What do I mean? I mean that even after someone successfully learns Swedish, the employers REFUSE to employ him. So others who come behind him see no reason why they should spend time learning a Language that leads to NOWHERE.

If the Government follows up its Language acquisition policy by making sure these people get employed, that would be enough incentive to learn the Language and this discussion shall be laid to REST.

The fact that this Topic comes up every time for debate is an indication that there is an EXISTING PROBLEM that some people for some reason do not want to discuss and find solutions to it.

@Calebian22, you should be very lucky indeed after 6 months to get a job.You make 1 percent of those who succeed in the system. So when 99 percent complain, that doesnt make them a bad example of what the Government doesnt expect of immigrants..Comprendo?
01:50 July 15, 2011 by Envandrare

Why on earth would someone come to work in Sweden from the US?!? I am also in IT and I got my masters here in Sweden.AND Let alone getting a decent IT job, I can't even get a cleaning job due to the pretext of 'language' barrier.

Would you please exchange your job in the US with me if I ever get one here in the next SIX years?!
09:21 July 15, 2011 by calebian22
Truth is bitter,

4 terms is two school years. Do the time, network like crazy(So important, since even Swedes who are unknown in a new area have trouble finding work) and it will pay off. I applied to over 200 career oriented jobs, before something panned out.

The one thing I noticed, is that until my Swedish reached a certain level, I got bubkiss for feedback, not even a blow off letter. After I completed SFI and was in GRUV, my initial contact letters were in much better Swedish, and then I started getting blowoff letters, and then some interviews, and finally a job. Interestingly enough, the job happened, not through Platsbanken, but by cold applying to a company I wanted to work for. I did an internet search using key words for my area and looked at prospective companies' websites. I contacted those that looked promising and one of them, called me in for an interview that turned into a job. If at all possible, try and knock on doors and have a conversation with someone at the company. Face to face contact is so important anywhere, and Sweden is no different.

Getting a career in Sweden is hard. The government or linguists can talk all they want about Swedish not being a prerequisite, but employers want Swedish speakers. However, Swedes are no different than other nationilities. If a Swede goes to Mexico and speaks only Swedish, they won't be hired either. Good luck to you and all the other job hunters.
12:16 July 15, 2011 by Swedesmith
From the article: Ali refused to go to SFI and did not take any aid. He worked hard and now owns a convenience store. From the comment section: Calebian studied hard for 2 years and applied to 200 companies before he got a job. Common element: hard work and determination.
12:30 July 15, 2011 by cogito

But there is a huge difference between a Swede going to Mexico expecting to get work speaking only Swedish. That Swede would be an idiot.

Spanish is one of the world's largest and richest languages, spoken on three continents.

Swedish is not spoken outside the borders of Sweden.
13:17 July 15, 2011 by calebian22

That was not my point. My point, is that it is unreasonable to not speak the language of the land fluently or even adequately (whatever the land), but expect to be fully employable. Anyone who complains about Sweden and Swedish should think of it in reverse. How employable are immigrants in their home countries who don't speak the native tongue?
14:31 July 15, 2011 by jacquelinee
Swedish language skills no prerequisite for a job...

hahahahahahahahahahahahahah and the tooth fairy really does exist!
15:07 July 15, 2011 by bolababu
as long as there are jobseekers who speak good swedish out there, those that do not speak swedish will always find themselves at a disadvantage and that explains pre-requisite in this context.
17:03 July 15, 2011 by zoroastrina
I have read all of the comments, and just for once I agree with all of them, i.e., I have not been disgusted or outraged by any of them. I have been using Assimil's "Schwedisch ohne Mühe" and Assimil's "Finnisch ohne Mühe" and I have many grammars and large dictionaries for Swedish and Finnish. The pronunciation of Swedish is problematic without a teacher. I am fluent in French and my German is flawless. Above all, I love the Finnish language, French is my second love, Swedish my third and German is my least liked language. I am a classical scholar and have studed Semitic languages, have six university degrees and have experienced years of unemployment in Krautland. I hope I and my female partner will get to Sweden, but our ncome may be a problem. We will not be employed because of the age barrier. I may never speak Swedish with anyone if we don't get to Sweden, but I am addicted to learning languages and cannot throw one of them away, so I would keep learning Swedish while working on my book on social exclusion even if I ended up in Timbuktu. (Pardon my typing errors.)
17:26 July 15, 2011 by Jeff Burdette
I was lucky to find a job here in Sweden over a year and a half ago.. I also enrolled in SFI.. I haven't learned much Swedish on the job (probably because it's an American bar/restaurant ;) and I didn't learn much in the 3 months I was enrolled in SFI either. Not the school's fault---I'll take the blame.. after more than ten years of marriage to a Swede, I still can only mutter a few words and phrases. So rather than learn Swedish, for now I'll just continue to help the Swedes speak better English ;)
17:27 July 15, 2011 by soultraveler3
This is a great idea if they can actually enforce it.

It's ridiculous to expect immigrants to become fully fluent in Swedish and integrate when you have to be fluent to get a job. The gains you make in a language when working with native speakers 8 hours per day are amazing, much more than you could ever expect to gain in a course.

In almost every other country you can get a job with a very basic understanding of the language. People know that people become fluent fastest through being forced to learn the language. It's sad that it took Sweden so long to figure this out, but if they can make it happen it'll help immigrants and in turn, Swedes a great deal.

Everyone should have to complete SFI D so they learn the basics. While in SFI all students should be tested on a regular basis to make sure they're progressing in a timely manner and not wasting taxpayer money. If they're not keeping up with the coursework there should be a financial penalty.

I say this because like others, I've been in SFI and have seen firsthand the amount of people that just screw around in there. They have to be there to get their money and will tell you flat out that they don't give a damn about learning Swedish.
21:09 July 15, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
There is a huge amount of misinformation being spread on this forum.

#1 SFI C and D usually take between a year to a year and half to complete, that's if you study. SFI C and SFI D familiarize a non-Swedish speaker with the language. One is tested after both programs to evaluate whether they are picking up the word-order and vocabulary, since most immigrants have a hard time speaking the language, many teachers from my experience do not focus too much on pronunciation (well at least the reasonable ones).

#2 After completing SFI D that you may attend SAS grund|läggande (elementary), now this is where the fun begins. Most people at his level can create a simple sentence and have a basic understanding of the grammar. After 20 weeks (if you go full-time) one can take the final exam for the course, if you fail you have to wait 6 months to take it again. If you pass then you can attend SAS A and then SAS B, which respectively take 20 weeks each.

#3 SAS grund , SAS A and SAS B are just high school level Swedish, not University level, thus you still will have to attend a Swedish University to learn the language fluently. As for stating that people are hanging out in SFI receiving money from the Government, that's a lie. If anything I saw most people drop out of SFI and SAS Grund, since they needed to get a job to pay for shelter and food.

4# Furthermore, anyone who begins SAS grund|läggande and is either a citizen or has a permanent residence permit is eligible to recive a study allowances (studiestöd), that's the countries policy. Now if you wish to speak broken Swedish, not fully understand what is occurring around you, work in a restaurant, hotel, then by all means, find a job and work.

However, if you wish to really capitalize on your life in Sweden, learn the language then work. I for one have my own business with my wife who, we are doing very well, thus maybe my situation is different. But I still say learn the language first and then look for work. I for one want to own a tobak affären and slave at amking a honest buck rather than receiving a University degree in engineering, which would give one great employment options/ Although selling papers in a corner store or working in a restuarant are jobs they defintitly are not a life.

22:16 July 15, 2011 by Bisonex
I started work here in Sweden two years ago as a university teacher (linguistics). I don't speak Swedish and it can be a bit of a hassle sometimes, but I get by OK. My wife also doesn't speak Swedish, but we have a teenage daughter who is at school here and she is able to help us out.

We would both like to learn the language, but the SFI classes are completely out of the question for my wife and I, so I guess we'll have to find some other way to pick up Swedish.
22:49 July 15, 2011 by Swedesmith

Welcome back to the forum! I look forward to having more fun with you.

Oh, and good post, by the way.
00:30 July 16, 2011 by Vstrommer71
As a potential immigrant(in a few months) I think that it's important to learn the language of the place you're going to be.Maybe lingo is a barrier to prevent you from finding a decent job but in the other hand by denying to learn it(or making no efforts at all) simply places you out of the society,the culture and the everyday living style of Sweden.

Depends on you.If you are an openminded person(as I think I am) and like to learn new things,meet new people and deal with them then I suppose you have good possibilities to integrate with your new society

After all time will tell!
03:29 July 16, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
I just thought of something. Wouldn't that be cool if everyone in the world started learning Swedish, and it became the most universal language in the world? Even more than English or Spanish!

06:07 July 16, 2011 by Jeff Burdette
OH! I know why I don't pay attention! ;^D @originalBlackMan you lost me at "#3 SAS grund , SAS A and SAS B'..

09:53 July 16, 2011 by skatty
By reading the recent comments, I should mention that the article is not about the unwillingness of immigrants to learn Swedish language but it's about the method to learn the language. Actually, more than 80% of immigrants and refugees learn Swedish language according to the statistics. I think the willingness of immigrants to learn the language is very high (partly depends to the fact that many would not find job, if they don't language).

The article explains the best way to acquire Swedish fluency and BOOST INTEGRATION is to encourage immigrants to enter the LABOR MARKET, and explain that SFI classes are not sufficient to reach to this aim.

In continue from my previous comment; I add, there are two points of extreme values in the article"labor market, and integration".

In my opinion, one problem with Swedish integration is the limitation of the policy to just two points "job and language" as the only elements of integration; in other words, Swedes really don't have a wide understanding of integration, and believe if somebody (immigrant and refugee) has a job and speak Swedish, then the person is integrate, as far as the guy doesn't commit a crime, otherwise it's not integrated.

Now; job is not something, which you just learn a language to get it. There are a wide verity of jobs, with different requirements and abilities, which needs different level of consideration in language. There is also a market, which create and eliminate jobs, employment and unemployment, no matter how well one speaks Swedish language! And it's also important to consider what motivations one might find in learning a language. All languages are not equally valued from a market and functionality point of view; however, from a cultural point of view all languages are important.
10:40 July 16, 2011 by Purple_Rache
I have another phrase; silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.

Being told that having good Swedish skills doesn't necessarily mean better chances of getting a job is worrying to me. I am trying so hard to better my Swedish, since in the past that's the one thing I get told is the reason they won't hire me (to be fair, I haven't applied for a job in a while, but I will be again this autumn).

I know having a job and interacting with people in everyday situations is a better way to learn Swedish, this is no secret. It's just getting the job in the first place!
20:37 July 16, 2011 by Bernike
What? SFI C and D take a year or more to complete? I finished SFI in 4 months :) That doesn't help find a job, though..
08:22 July 17, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
Very interesting comments.

The bottom line of this article suggest that everybody should be given a fair chance in the labor market. While this is the ideal, real life situations have continually proven that when it becomes very tough to get a job, then some people tend to discriminate and "play " the "language card" as a reason not to give jobs to people who are more skillful and hence more productive for the employer and their business.

This is called "protectionism" and every country on this EARTH practices varying degrees of protectionism.

I know a girl, a foreigner, born in Sweden who did an interview over the phone. Her Swedish was classic and even the interviewer couldnt tell from her accent that she wasnt Swedish. So as after the Interview..She GOT THE JOB!! and was asked to come and start work on an agreed date.

The drama was only about to begin, because with the name changing at birth to blend in as Swede, nobody could tell who she really was. On the day she announced herself at the reception, it caused a one hell of a commotion.This is how it played all over when the boss summoned her:

Boss: So how can I help you?

Girl: My name is XXX and I am here to start work after my interview.

Boss: Soooo...Was that you I spoke with on the phone?

Girl: Yes this is me, Miss XXXX

Boss: ( feeling Uncomfortable) Well..I ..I..I am sorry, that Job is gone

Girl: But your Secretary called me just yesterday to remind me about the job.

Boss: I know..but believe me, the job is gone..We took some other person better qualified than you.

Girl: I cant believe this is happening to me.

Boss: I promise you we shall call you whenever another position comes up

......At this point the girl understands the game and walks away without another word.

Now someone tell me..did she really loose the Job to someone better qualified or did she lose the Job because of who she is?

When you answer this question honestly then you would have found part of the answer to the problem of getting a job in Sweden. You would have answered whether it is really about the Language or personal preference.

Another true story is that of a girl who was refused admission into a Community School because because of the foreign sounding name her mother gave. But when the girl learnt of this, she called the same school and gave a Swedish name, and the unsuspecting Principal told her there were spaces to be filled and she is welcome any time to register.The matter ended in Court of course.

Discrimination in any Society is Wrong and we are in Sweden, a land of rights and respect for humanity.

Come on people!!!
11:50 July 17, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
How can someone be a "foreigner", if they were born in Sweden?

Is one not one a Swede if they were born in Sweden?

Nevertheless, the incident you described is called racism, all the card analogies (the race card, the language card or the white supremacist card) obfuscate what someone or something actually is or is doing. I am more then sure that the woman you are describing is a non-white, so why not just say it?

Racism is a HUGE behavioral problem practiced in Sweden, lets not try to hide this fact.

I should also add that the majority of the students enrolled in Swedish language courses are white people; 90% of the students attending were from other EU nations, thus the above picture is not accurate.

Vi säger så då, tja!

(I am not here to post rude or disingenuous comments on this forum. I am posting comments so as to share "constructive" information.)
14:35 July 17, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
@calebian22 - "Getting a career in Sweden is hard. The government or linguists can talk all they want about Swedish not being a prerequisite, but employers want Swedish speakers. However, Swedes are no different than other nationilities."

ABSOLUTELY TRUE! If you do NOT know Swedish, they do NOT want to hire you! Even if your job requires excellent English skills, they want Swedish speaking employees!

Now lets move on to the fact that you are now fluent in Swedish. - Still no job because your name is not Swedish enough.

This type of "racism" is hardly unique to Sweden because it happens EVERYWHERE!

OK, OK - You are fluent in Swedish and you got smart and changed your name to a very Swedish sounding one. Still no job because - YOU ARE TOO OLD!?

Age discrimination is not illegal.
21:10 July 17, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
Comment: @Originalblackman..Yes the girl in question is Black..and she becomes a "foreigner" only when the Boss sees her in his office. She was just another Swede over the phone, but everything changes when they meet face to face. By the way, dont discount the 10% who come from non-EU countries.. This girl in question didnt attend some SFI language programme..she was born here, went to the Schools Swedes go to and learnt the language as her own mother tongue. To say the above picture is not accurate is supposes using very narrow lenses to examine your surroundings. We try our best to examine all sides of the issue and say exactly where the problem lies and what could be done to fix it. I know the world view of politicians all over the world is limited , hence they make policy mistakes. Our duty is to enable them see from an angle they ignored ever existed.It is only through such open and honest dialogues that they also learn and initiate shifts in policies that were destructive in the past. @Damnimmigrant OK, OK - You are fluent in Swedish and you got smart and changed your name to a very Swedish sounding one. Still no job because - YOU ARE TOO OLD!? " No..she got a job by merit and got turned down when the boss saw her..PERIOD.. remember he r application file contained infos about her age , so its not about age..She spoke Swedish fluently..so its not about Language..Then she gets the offer and then a refusal..Where do u classify her refusal? AGE? LANGUAGE? where???? school me The issue you refer to about age discrimination has no place in this dialogue. The examples above had to do with young girls who were discriminated against, one for the reason she is Black and the other because her name is foreign sounding
23:21 July 17, 2011 by Nordland88
I'm wondering if anyone thought about improving their Swedish by watching television and movies. I recall seeing a series on American TV about John Adams, an important man in the early history of the Republic who in the 18th Century was sent to France to gain support for the cause. His wife is shown attending the French theatre frequently in part to help her learn the language. Something soap opera like would probably be fine for ear practice. If Swedish learning effort is just confined to class work it probably won't really take.
01:18 July 18, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
@The_Truthisbitter - "No..she got a job...the boss saw her...not about age...She spoke...Where do u classify her refusal? AGE? LANGUAGE? where???? school me The issue you refer to about age discrimination has no place in this dialogue..."

The_Truthisbitter, my first question is - Are you OK? Your comments directed at me seem a bit bizarre and absolutely seem to be coming out of "like no-wheresville man". You're talking about some "she" like it has meaning to me.

Then again, I think that what I am seeing in your post is EXTREMELY EGOCENTRIC BEHAVIOR.

My post was quoting something that calebian22 had said and the fact that I agreed with what he was saying. In agreeing to what he was saying I made 3 statements of FACT.

1. (Some/many) Swedish employers do not want to hire you if you do not speak Swedish.

2. (Some/many) Swedish employers do not want to hire people who have non-Swedish names.

3. (Some/many) Swedish employers do not want to hire older people.

The_Truthisbitter, do you see anything in my post about girls? Is there anything in my post that indicates to you that I was even remotely responding to what you were saying?

Thinking that people are automatically responding to "YOU" is either EGOCENTRIC or just plain PARANOID. (I am guessing EGOCENTRIC.)

The_Truthisbitter, you asked me to "SCHOOL YOU", so here goes - If I am directing my post at something "YOU" said and I want your interaction to my post, I will use your name! I have seen that the other users on this forum do the same.

Now The_Truthisbitter, let us move on to your MOST EGREGIOUS SIN in your post! Your EGOCENTRIC BEHAVIOR then decides that - and I quote, "The issue you refer to about age discrimination has no place in this dialogue".

"no place in this dialogue"??? -- An American expression IMMEDIATELY comes to my mind - "Who died and made YOU GOD of this thread?" How egocentric can you get?

The author of this article stated "A 35-year-old is already faced with significant disadvantages." But you in your EGOCENTRIC wisdom have decided that we should not talk about age?

That said, back to the article's topic...

The only real way that we will solve this discrimination problem is if we have such a shortage of workers, that the Swedish employers will be forced to take almost anyone remotely qualified to do the job. - (Good luck with that one.)
11:08 July 18, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
What I see here most of the time is that many people participate in debates on this forum, and take advantage of the fact that most participants are not native speakers of English , and then try to obfuscate the debate.

@Damnimmigrant, next time you post, and since am not even a god, I would appreciate if you think of these groups and show some real humility by "speaking" in a tongue they can comprehend.

Reading your posting brings to mind LAKUNLE in Soyinka's "The Lion and the Jewel", who hid behind big words and ended losing the "Romance War" to an illiterate Village chief.

I suggested before that our actions should serve to teach and inform the general public.I believe there were parallels from your posting that correspnded to mine and if others saw that too, then it shall prove misleading.

Granted, you didnt direct your words at me, but you somehow managed to echo what I had posted in a misleading way, and yes I reacted to that.

And remember: We dont need a god to respond to people's threads. We need humans, ok..
14:14 July 18, 2011 by tedd09y
Thank u for bringing this up ...the article puts everything about how i perceive about the integration problem in Sweden. The fact that fluent swedish language ability for all job sectors is so lame to begin with......there are I believe a lot of jobs out there which don not require fluent swedish ...jobs which can be done with fair communicative ability in swedish .....but the society is so closed that they dont want to give it to immigrants ....they are so inflexible that it will make it so hard that u suffer ....i dont understand why they do this ....I am sure in return it has a bad image for sweden but they never get it...sometimes I feel sorry for them......Lets say If an immigrant with a fair swedish language ability goes in to the labour market ....... then what will happen is he will learn swedish so fast that the cost the government will put on him on SFI or bla bla will be reduced so much.If integration is really needed I think things must be changed.....I mean the way the society labels all the immigrants has to change really ......otherwise we r just talking on papers and it will be non sense. when we come to skilled immigrants they r not well utilized in Sweden. Denmark and Norway has doing their tasks really well in this manner. If a skilled immigrant knows fair swedish and Have the inspiration to learn more why we should make it so hard to work in his profession here in Sweden. The benefit is I think for both parties, for the person and also for Sweden's economy....Peace!!!!!
18:59 July 18, 2011 by rekcah

Obviously we would not move from the US to Sweden if we could not find work. The point is that we will be fluent before we even start to look at jobs in Sweden. My wife and I will have 20+ year of IT experience each most of my time was spent working overseas for Intel. I don't know how much IT experience you have but anyone with less than 10 years in IT is having trouble finding work here in the US.
02:20 July 19, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
The government does not force you into SFI - or did I miss something? You have to go to SFI to get a job? Just go out and get one. Oh, right, EMPLOYERS want the language first.

I have carefully read calebian22 and I think his posts are the most accurate I have seen. He really gets to the heart of this discussion! I too know immigrants who passed SFI, then technical training for jobs that are IN HIGH DEMAND like CNC - Got jobs right away!

I find this article to be too simplistic. Her concepts of the barriers created by Swedish employers are totally absent. "Adults" cannot learn in a classroom??? I also agree that her concept of integration is flawed.

'skatty' is right, 'Swedes really don't understand integration.' IMHO, EDUCATION is the best path to integration combined with a PERSONAL DESIRE to integrate. An education that covers language, history, government, laws, law enforcement, constitution, taxes and concepts that many take for granted like equal rights and free speech.

I thought that SFI now separates the illiterate from the educated. So why is this being brought up?

@The_Truthisbitter - "What I see here most of the time...try to obfuscate the debate..."

The_Truthisbitter, you became a member of TheLocal 23 days ago and you have seen a lot of this obfuscation going on here? Get that word from TheOriginalBlackMan did you? Now you're trying to use it in a sentence?

How have I obfuscated this "debate"?

Aren't you just presenting a red-herring to redirect from my observation of your EGOCENTRIC behavior?

Click on my name to get my profile. Pay close attention to what it says. You will know all you need to know about MY MOTIVES. Self-Transcendent (as defined by Maslow or Cloninger) is probably what describes me best.

The LAST thing that ANY Self-Transcendent person WILL do is to "obfuscate the debate". We are driven to TEACH people with clarity and to illuminate divisive speech.

@The_Truthisbitter - "...next time you post...I would appreciate if you...show some real humility by "speaking" in a tongue..."

WOW! Your egocentric behavior is showing again. -- "YOU" would appreciate it? A tongue they can comprehend??? -- You really cannot see how egocentric your words are, and how clueless and condescending you sound?

"Tongue they can comprehend"??? IMHO this is very condescending to non-native speakers. I have never believed in "dumbing down" a conversation. The Internet makes it so easy to look up words or phrases you do not understand. I use it ALL the time!

@The_Truthisbitter - "...I believe there were parallels from your posting that correspnded to mine...you somehow managed to echo what I had posted in a misleading way..."

OK that DEFINITELY sounded PARANOID. I am sorry to say to you that I took NO notice of your posts until you attacked my very neutral post. It was only then that I noticed your egocentric (and now paranoid) behavior.
14:12 July 19, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
Great piece of writing!!! I had to GOOGLE every phrase of yours to understand your deep writing ART..That's exactly how to communicate , and pointing this out to you makes me EGOCENTRIC, CLUELESS & PARANOID...I am beginning to learn quite a few new words from you..Looking forward to more..and of course congratulations for Inventing the adjective "To OBFUSCATE"..

Continue Teaching (of course I requested that you School me) people with such clarity that illuminates...BEST OF LUCK!!!
17:25 July 19, 2011 by Skuzi
I have been in Sweden for approximately one and a half years now. I have been unemployed for the entire duration, although I had a praktik which turned out to be fruitless.

I am making it my stance to refuse SFI/language lessons until I have reason to know Swedish...a job... It seems to me that going to a language course for the sake of going to a language course is pointless. I know for a fact that after completion of SFI, i'd be unemployed anyway so why bother.

I have no benefit from even the most basic in language skills let alone fluency in Swedish except to talk to my girlfriends father.

I understand that it is beneficial to know Swedish, but for the sake of 9/10 million people I'm gonna wait it out until I get a job. Plus my chosen career path (loosely) is computing, which is generally English speaking.

If you cannot speak Swedish you're scum. No, not really, I'm just part of the global majority.

I'm English.
19:20 July 19, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh

Are you really that thick?

If after 18 months you have not got a job then you obviously do not have the skill set that will allow you to work here without the language.

If you are not going to try to learn and become fluent then you will never get work here, so pack up and go home before you end up costing us tax payers money.

You're Stupid
21:09 July 19, 2011 by Skuzi
@Renfeh Hguh

thx but it's obviously not that simple is it. I intend to stay "costing the tax payers" as you say... it's not intended that I do this is it, look at the example of the iraqi men.

I obviously do have the skill set to work here without the language as I work freelance in my field.

You need to stuff your comment up your bum.
21:23 July 19, 2011 by JLondon

As far as I'm concerned you can be unemployed for as long as you wish in Sweden. I've paid enough tax in Sweden, and have never taken.

Seeing as foreigners of many nationalities who claim tax payers money, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, I don't see why you cannot do it in Sweden.

I understand both points of views. On one hand you should learn the language because you are living in Sweden, but on the other hand, the chances of making a resonable living even when fluent in swedish language is very slim.
21:28 July 19, 2011 by Skuzi

Thank you for your kind words.

I would like to back up my argument again by saying that I am freelance and not claiming benefits, learning Swedish will not help me get into work at the moment. I am learning it myself.
22:38 July 19, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh

If you have the skill set that allows you to work here without the language, then you would be working now. It's that simple.

If you are not working then either your skills are not in demand or you are unable to compete with the Svensons that have the same skills and also have the language. To work without Swedish you have to be better than everyone else.

Why on earth would anyone think that a Swedish employer would choose the non-Swedish speaking candidate if they are not better qualified is beyond me.
23:33 July 19, 2011 by Skuzi
@Renfeh Hguh

I am working... freelance, didn't you see that? null åtta
23:59 July 19, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh

Ok so you are working freelance, then why are you writing "I have been in Sweden for approximately one and a half years now. I have been unemployed for the entire duration" ? Make up your mind.
00:48 July 20, 2011 by Skuzi
@Renfeh Hguh

I am unemployed haha, freelance doesn't bring in enough money to support my stay in Sweden. Luckily for you though I'm staying. My mind is perfectly made up thx.
09:02 July 20, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh

Then you don't have the skills to compete in the Swedish job market without the language. Perhaps you better pull your head out of your arse and have a reality check and get back to SFI.
10:02 July 20, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Skuzi"If you cannot speak Swedish you're scum. No, not really, I'm just part of the global majority. I'm English. "

So we have a dumb Englishman who is so stupid he is unable to learn Swedish who complains about not being able to get a job but is working freelance.

Are you declaring your freelance work to Skatteverket?

You are typical of the English yobs in their Union Jack shorts making themselves understood on the Costa Del Fish & Chips by shouting in English to the Spanish waiters
12:15 July 20, 2011 by cogito

It is not the previous poster's business whether you pay your taxes or not.

He likes to play secret police and fling around implied threats. Pay no mind.

It's just nostalgia for the good old days when East Germans and Swedes reported neighbors to the authorities.
13:59 July 20, 2011 by wonderer
"Swedish language skills no prerequisite for a job" was the heading, I thought the article would indicate that the fact that no swedish knowledge no job is disappearing, but it is pointing towards the disability of sfi instead :(
19:58 July 20, 2011 by Skuzi
@Rick Methven

ofc i'm declaring it you whatever, enjoy arguing in the global language do ya?

@Renfeh Hguh

get back to SFI? I haven't even been. I agree with this article completely and will follow my own rules not yours, perv.
10:15 July 21, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh
Enjoy being unemployable!
13:17 July 21, 2011 by Puffin
It is an interesting article but I wonder if the OP has more than anecdotes - unless you are very lucky knowledge of Swedish will help you get a job as some employers use Swedish as a sorting mechanism as they want to be at least able to have a Swedish speaking workplace

Many employers ask for language certificates - I have been asked to produce certificates to get English teaching jobs as the work required team meetings with Swedes and other nationalities and paperwork to be done in Swedish
13:54 July 21, 2011 by Skuzi
@ Renfeh Hguh

Bottom line is people are not unemployable and don't have to study Swedish to get on in life. Just as the article states.
15:29 July 21, 2011 by Renfeh Hguh
I totally agree with the sentiments of the article

However not everybody can get away with it. Those that can get away with it get jobs quickly, those that can't make an effort to learn Swedish. Sometimes been seen as making an effort can tip the odds in your favour.

Those that don't get the jobs, don't make an effort to learn the language have very little to offer prospective employers. Maybe you will be lucky and a job opportunity will come up and perhaps you face no competition, but maybe you might win bingolotto.

Unemployed for 18 months and not trying to learn Swedish, you are just living in a dreamworld.
17:17 July 21, 2011 by sobhan

I TOTALLY AGREE with your view. You are a smart guy. I do not understand why these jokers from Africa and Asia change their names to Swedish and can not event pick up a single good habit. The same thing they do when they go to Australia or UK. I am against refugees as most times refugees from bad countries are people who have money and connection with their respective systems. And bad people will continue to do bad things. it's just culture.
20:12 July 21, 2011 by Captain Judgment
Comment: I wanted to add that this article states the obvious and is true in aggregate that yes one can acquire language faster by working (thus surrounding yourself with Swedish) in tandem with language courses. But there are other factors that are true which impede "integration" at various levels.

1) Acceptable work is quite different to an uneducated person here for political asylum who may feel lucky to get any job that pays versus highly educated and highly paid people from the US, European Union or Japan that relocate to Sweden because their partner is Swedish. Why would someone making five or six figures in the US accept some grunt job just to acquire a language?

2) Some foreigners speak languages that have cognates and similar conjugation as found in Swedish. Speakers of Swabian, Dutch, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish can quickly absorb the Swedish rules of grammar since they are similar to their mother tongue. Certainly their rate of language acquisition is faster than someone from the UK or US or Iran. This is true irrespective if they are working or just taking language classes.

3) Many professional that think they have transferable skills such as an engineer, may not be aware that major Swedish employers like Ericcson have policies to not hire people over the age of 35. So even if you have mastered Swedish AND you have transferable skills other attributes might disqualify you from being hired.

4) The free SFI classes, as the article mentions, groups the illiterate with the highly educated slowing the rate of learning to the lowest common denominator which may be unacceptable for the more educated in the group. Language classes at other institutions such as Folksuniversitet or Medborjarskolan charge tuition but have irregular quality in terms of teaching staff. I myself have seen failed writers, divorced housewives, and others teach Swedish on the sole basis that they can speak Swedish. I have with five other people demanded in the past that Folksuniversitet provide people that can teach, or we would collectively pull the tuition and find our own teacher.

5) I have been told by many that foreign last names are not always seen in the same light as someone with a name like Johan Anderson on a resume, even though skill sets are symmetric.

I simply wanted to point out some truths, because certainly from reading the articles, a pressure is put on the journalists to present the best face of Sweden. Integration is neither impossible nor difficult, but it is unlikely that all people will have such a smooth transition as presented on these sunny pages.
22:01 July 21, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
I have learned through out the years that some people unwillingly tell lies while others lie so as to make themselves feel adequate. I'll wager on the later for the person who stated that the illiterate and literate are grouped together in SFI courses, since this is clearly not the policy of the program.

Also, I have never known anyone who wishes to learn anything, depend solely on teachers or for that matter institutions for their acquisition of a "discipline", since if one "gets down to brass tacks" of it, one must teach oneself any subject.

Nonetheless, Swedish is not that hard to learn, but it takes time. Also, I find very few people change their name to "Gustavs" or "Ulf" to get a job contrary to what is being said by other posters. What I do see is a huge problem of racism in Sweden. Most white people who live in Sweden have a marvelous delusion which is feed to them daily by their media; those individuals are entertaining for most part. However, I do understand that for an individual, lets say a Black African from anywhere on the earth, there could be some great challenges at finding employment due to racism = white hegemony, but it's not impossible.
07:50 July 22, 2011 by skatty
@Captain Judgment

Your facts are interesting; then by considering your facts some countries are better and some less suitable for immigration.

Now; in the case of Sweden, which has been a homogenous country for very long time, with a language that can't be used almost anywhere, with different kinds of discrimination like the color of the skin, name, age, nationality, and many other things, how integration can be smoothly possible.

As a matter of fact, it's very much depends to the understanding and expectation of Swedes and immigrants from integration.

There are two general classifications of immigrants in Sweden,

1. One is the ordinary immigrants, who apply for immigration for different reasons like, job, family, perhaps business. Mostly for job, from low level (like construction) to very high level (like doctors).

2. Different kinds of refugees; like war, economy or political refugees. In contrast with general believes, refugees are not uneducated, but have very different kind of background from very low to very high education. Refugees usually come without legal permission and apply for residency, it's over Sweden to refuse or accept them.

Different between refugees and immigrants are many, but two important differences is one the motivations to move to a new country, and the another one is the ability to return back to their own country. Base on these two facts, integration for refugees can be much harder than immigrants. Refugees can't just return back to their own countries, whenever they have decided to return back to settle down in their own country, no matter how much Sweden can be suitable for life. In other words, refugees have to accept their new conditions in the new countries, whatever it is.

Most of the new immigrants in the last 3 decades have been refugees in Sweden, as a matter of fact mostly immigrated to Sweden under particular circumstances in their own countries, and may never be able to think or even imagine moving to Sweden under normal circumstances (as an ordinary immigrant). You see it makes integration much harder!
11:04 July 22, 2011 by 15U
after reading all these comments I've decided that I will live in mother Russia.
14:13 July 22, 2011 by cogito
What Captain Judgement (#67) said.


Especially point #4.
17:16 July 22, 2011 by musiktjej
I think the article does make some good points yet leaves out others. People come here from all different backgrounds and need to integrate in their own ways. For some it is communication in the classroom where self confidence is built up, thus they are work-ready later on. For others, a combination of both is more important.

The govt. however fails to recognize the differences and prefers to isolate people in classrooms setting foreigners up for failure. They also do not teach their citizens the importance of integration and acceptance of others, others who may not happen to be white, blond and blue eyed. So there are several layers of problems going on here.
07:28 July 23, 2011 by Uggla
For those who can get assistance while in SFI work is not an issue.

I am a woman who married a Swedish man and I have three children.

People say that since I married a Swedish man I should not get any help while learning Swedish. But it's my husband who has been paying taxes for many years. Why because I came here for love instead of war I get no help or no job but others who come to Sweden to hide from war get help? I have done everything right, study swedish look for a job and we pay our taxes, yet we struggle to put food in our children's mouths. Because nobody will give a non-swedish woman a job unless I speak Swedish. And nobody will help a one income house hold because I came here for love.

Stupid. So my husband pays taxes to help strangers. But nobody wants to help us.
08:47 July 24, 2011 by cattie
Very interesting discusion with many great points.

I have been to SFI and lived as an immigrant in Sweden quite a while. The protectionism is real and active. One employer has a data filtering program that filters out non-Swedish names from the ranks of the job seekers. This may be illegal but how will it be ever be enforced?

"Racism does not exist in Sweden." It is not like the USA here where you have so many racists. This is what two young Swedish men in their early 20's told me with a straight face this weekend. Ther really believed it, too. It was so, well, shocked. I said that in the ideal Swedes really want to not be racist, but that is not reality. It is denial. Americans are not in denial about racism, we struggle with it. We do better sometimes and worse others, but we also have legal remedies to counter it--such as affirmative action. When I explained all this and more details to them. The just politely said, they totally disagreed and racism does not exist in Sweden.

I think my most annoying Swedish phrase of the year is "That does not happen in Sweden."
09:33 July 24, 2011 by Uggla

Yes! You are so very right! This I have heard to but then I have experienced and heard racism first hand! From my husbands co-workers, family members, and strangers. I was even told "I shouldn't have come here and taken up one of their good Swedish men from them!" from a woman at a pub. I was another time pushed by a girl and told "Stop trying to be Swedish!" I had no idea she was even standing next to me. I wasn't even talking about Sweden I was talking about music in English. The funny thing is I am a "white" girl. I just do not happen to be from Sweden so it is Nationalism that is very strong in Scandinavia. Even though many Scandinavians like to pretend that it is not here, I would say at least 80% of the Swedes I know are Nationalists to some degree. I hear it all day long. They talk about how the refugees are ruining the country with each other but would deny it when confronted with the issue in public. Swedes love to paint a picture of something that they are not. Bank loans to buy fancy things to look rich while swimming in debt. Pretending to be caring and open when it comes to immigrants but cursing their existence in Sweden. Even pretending to like you then whispering bad things as soon as you are out of an ears reach.

One things I can give Americans even if not everything Americans say is good. They are blunt honest! There is no secret lies behind backs, no lying, no pretend smiles and fake kindness. Americans say it like it is and are not afraid of confrontation. Swedes will lie until they are blue when confronted with an issue.
13:07 July 24, 2011 by rafa1981

I'm just curious, if your husband goes to live to your country which benefits does he get?

Because in my one you don't have right to have free classes to learn the language, even less to get a bill for it, there (if from the EU) you just have the same rights as a native that never worked: free health care, that's not little, health care is expensive, but everything else at your expense.

I mean, how a foreigner that voluntarily moved can require the taxpayers of that country to afford his education and a little loan?

If they want to give it to you be grateful, if not you have absolutely no right to complain, I'm with the Swedes on that, as an immigrant it is your responsibility to move with a sustainability and a life plan, not the taxpayers. Also it is your duty to know that your success is not warranted and there is always risk.

I also understand you in a kind of manner, the positive discrimination against immigrants-refugees of some countries makes you see the whole picture wrong, but the problem is that they give too much to them, not too little to you, I mean, free classes, facilities and teachers is a good gift.
15:24 July 24, 2011 by cogito
Uggla and Cattie

I work in a large Swedish company. We needed to hire a person with a very specific set of skills as well as excellent English and Swedish. The perfect candidate appeared, a highly presentable and intelligent young person, fluent in both languages, who happened to be an immigrant.

After much mumbling about "cultural differences" and "chemistry," they finally chose to hire a Swede who was unqualified and turned out to be totally inadequate. The company then had to send the this person to course after course to learn skills the immigrant woman had from the get-go.
23:51 July 24, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter

You Hit the nail spot on!!!

I have a friend, with skill set required for some industrial job. First the excuse was Language..so he learnt , and pretty fast too.

then they gave him 3 month trails , and after 6 months , he was asked to stay with the company, NOT as a worker, but to train some Swedes without any prior knowledge about the job.

Another Company came to recruit him, and they REFUSED, saying he is still undergoing TRIALS with them.

Yes,,they will keep him, just to exploit him so that he trains someone who comes to get the job they wont give him!!

Classical Case of a Merry Go Round Scenario with no exit...
12:12 July 25, 2011 by Social Hypocrisy
The system doesn't work..?

Of course not, the system isn't meant to work for immigrants!

But I thought that socialists and the unions were on our side and believe that everyone is equal?

Yes everyone is equal... but swedes are more equal than immigrants.
14:12 July 25, 2011 by Puffin
Seems like the entire system has gone a full circle and that Sandra Ljung is advocating a return to the much critcised situation prior to the 1970s

- SFI was designed to meet the needs of the workers that came to Sweden in the 1970s as it was found that having a factory/manual job etc did not help people learn Swedish and most remained totally isolated - work alone did not give high level language skills

- now Ms Ljung is saying that SFI is not necessary and that people should be working instead

However one of the problems is that these days there are fewer unskilled jobs that do not require any speaking/reading skills at all - does Ms Ljung really see immigrants as a low tier underclass unable to progress because of their lack of language skills? - although to not support publicly funded education is not an uncommon view of people with Ms Ljung's background of working for the World Bank
15:47 July 28, 2011 by sdx
What the article doesn't touch is why employers would be interested in hiring staff that don't have adequate skills in the local language. So, the article itself is even more detached from reality than the SFI schools are.

If you want to be employable, and don't speak as good swedish as other applicants, you must have something else, an edge of some sorts, to provide instead. Most immigrants don't have that.

So, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Unfortunaly I think good swedish skills is something that needs to happen before you get a job, unless you have special skills that are hard to find. It might appear to suck, but that's life anywhere, not just in sweden. At least here you have the possibility to get help with your learning process.
12:52 July 29, 2011 by Social Hypocrisy
To be judged on their academic merits and prior work experience along with a reasonable ability to speak swedish is all immigrants have ever asked for.
13:56 July 29, 2011 by cogito
"Yes everyone is equal... but swedes are more equal than immigrants."

@Social Hypocrisy.

Academic merits and prior work experience don't count for much either.

Given a choice between a foreign university graduate with experience or a Swede with no uni. and no experience, they will hire the Swede.

I have heard strange excuses for not hiring foreigners--mumbled excuses about "cultural class" and "personal chemistry," which sounded to me like covert racism.

One manager actually said: "immigrant women always take out too many sick days."
12:24 July 31, 2011 by jacquelinee
your work merit means nothing, the quality of your education or your expertise in it means nothing. That is the mistake immigrant people make. They thing they can succeed by the quality of their work, their inititive, dedication to the job etc. But that is not it here. It is who has the shiniest most impressive, fancy betyg (randow piece of paper issued by someone to say you did something) and who is the best "Fika" buddy. Ás long as it looks good on a piece of paper, you are in (even if you don't know how to sign your own name. God help an immigrant with work experience up to their ying yang and references galore unless you have that Swedish slip of paper saying you are fabulous (even when you are incompentent) you ain't goin' nowhere.

Students in Sweden can actually graduate and get a betyg even if they fail classes. They are told.." You can come back later and pass them " Anfd I know this for a fact because a Swedish (yes SVEN, pure Svenks lineage) relative of mine did exactly that. needless to say, he is never going back to learn what he failed to learn...but that doesn't matter, because he has a "Betyg"
12:32 August 3, 2011 by Skuzi
@Renfeh Hguh

What's wrong with a dream world, stop being nasty, i will beat your comments
15:38 November 16, 2011 by ShadowKiller
The article was superb, so bravo TheLocal.se for at least addressing the problem, even though the fact will never change (or at least, not in our lifetime). There are enough relevant comments for me to NOT add my own personal story of how I am being excluded from integrating in society by just not being given the opportunity to get gainful employment. For the skeptical of my own abilities, I am native in 3 European languages, have one BSc and 2 MScs from UK universities - one with distinction - and 14 years work experience in IT and 4 professional qualifications in that field. In other words, in the countries where I could "integrate" I wouldn't have a difficulty in finding a job.

For the newcomers to Sweden, do not have illusions. This is the point of the above article and I am going to be even more blunt. If you have had the courage to read the comments this far down the page, here is my take on it. Others with the experience of job hunting, please feel free to corrborate or negate the following claim.

When you read a job posting that says "fluency in Swedish" this does not mean "fluency", it means being a NATIVE speaker. In other words you must read the term "fluency" as politically correct code meaning "you are a Swede, born and brought up here, no slight "foreign" accent". No level of "fluency" in the learnt language will get you the job, unless there is no other Swede qualified and applying for that job.

Obviously, by stating that "fluency" in Swedish is a pre-requisite for a job, disqualifies most individuals from the start. This is a barrier to entry only the minute few (lucky ones or those with a network that help them with job finding) will overcome.
18:11 July 9, 2012 by nikoda
What an extremely naive article and even comments from a few who have no doubt secured jobs in Irish theme pubs and the like.

I worked as a dishwasher too when I first came here 20 years ago and I learned swedish very quickly. Trying to maintain and get longer contracts as a fluent swedish speaking, native english speaking IT Consultant is not as easy as one thinks.

I agree with shadowkiller who posted just before this.

Then I am one of the lucky ones. How many times have I heard the nigger jokes and everything else and when someone looked at me they said... No not you, you're like one of us!

22:36 November 8, 2012 by KossBoss
"Students in Sweden can actually graduate and get a betyg even if they fail classes. They are told.."

You can come back later and pass them " Anfd I know this for a fact because a Swedish (yes SVEN, pure

Svenks lineage) relative of mine did exactly that. needless to say, he is never going back to learn

what he failed to learn...but that doesn't matter, because he has a "Betyg""

Well, bullshit I'd say and your SVEN was one of the lucky ones. The adult education favours those who

hasn't any high school education AT ALL, not students who have failed courses, so chances are rather

limited to be accepted for supplement. However, if you get accepted, to supplement a failed or not

taken course, you have to PAY IT YOURSELF and are left for self-studies as you're not even allowed to

participate in classes. If applying for college later, you'll be placed in a separate selection group

within the application process making the competition much harder for you. So it's not that you

actually can supplement your grades from high school and think that it will increase your chances to

become accepted for that top education you're competing for. As for that, knowledge isn't about how

and when, it's WHAT you have learned.

How is the employer in Sweden supposed to evaluate what a foreign piece of paper says in terms of

skills and knowledge if it's from some foreign school from far-away-i-stan with a tally different

system in terms of grading etc? You tell me.

It's not only foreigners that are facing problems with unployment issues, Especielly the younger

generation of Swedes - even those with college education do. I'm so damn sick and tired from reading

comments from ex-pats whining like spoiled crybabies about this being an issue of being native or

foreign, when it's has more to do with COMPETITION due to a rigid work legislation together with

relatively few unqualified jobs rather than discrimination against certain ethnic groups, foreigners,

people who don't know enough Swedish blabla. The employers are picky when the work legislation makes

it hard to sack people! Amazingly, many foreigners however, DO get jobs after all, despite the, as

you claim, widespread discrimination. Funny, I wonder how? .. Can it be that those particular persons

are willing to put some effort and feel less sorry for themselves.. perhaps?.. Perhaps..

Many of my friends have faced unemployment several times in longer periods in their lives, despite

being Swedes with much work experience in their professional fields as well as having college

degrees. I understand them from their point of view, it's just logical. But I think it doesn't rhyme

well with the current immigration policy either, and that's the main problem here. I can only see two ways here; Either you loose up the work legislation or change the immigration to a pure guest work system.
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