Housing shortage sinks immigrant jobs efforts

Of the 4,000 people who’ve arrived in Sweden since December 2010, the Swedish Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) has only been able to find work for ten.

No more than 50 new arrivals are currently working within an establishment plan, to integrate them into Swedish society, according to a new report.

The report, presented by the Swedish Employment Service on Tuesday, shows that a lack of housing in many areas often becomes a major hurdle for newly arrived immigrants as they try to settle in and find employment in Sweden as quickly as possible.

To make matters worse, the report shows that housing is hardest to find in the areas where jobs are available.

The Swedish Employment Service’s assignment is to direct new arrivals to the counties where there is work. But this has proved tricky in practice.

“We’re governed by housing availability far too much,” said the Employment Service’s Marie Linell-Persson to news agency TT.

The Employment Service also pointed out that many are forced to wait a long time to gain access to Swedish language classes, SFI.

A further complicating factor for immigrants’ establishment in Sweden is the long wait for child care.

Parents, who must wait a long time for a kindergarten spot, have difficulties participating in the Employment Services’ programmes.

The Swedish Employment Service has been responsible for the integration of new arrivals since last winter.

”It’s an important reform, because it signals that the new arrivals are an important resource for us,” said director-general Angeles Bermudez Svankvist.

The Employment Service’s tasks include giving newly arrived immigrants preparation for work in Sweden, charting education and skills, validating foreign university degrees and securing internships as well as Swedish language classes.

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