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'Sweden can't afford to lose clever immigrants'

The Local · 7 Nov 2011, 11:27

Published: 07 Nov 2011 11:27 GMT+01:00

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The story of my group of friends is not unique among those groups of friends raised in a “million homes” area (miljonprogrammet, referring to the one million homes that were built in the 60s and 70s to house Sweden’s increasing population).

We were six, all born in Sweden, or arriving as toddlers. All except myself hold university degrees, and Sweden has thus invested in our healthcare, pre-school, elementary school, high school and university.

Now half of us are gone, emigrated. For a while I was the last one left, but two have returned. The other three will most likely stay outside Sweden’s borders and thus be resources lost to our society.

They are Swedes, but were never viewed as such. At least not in the same way as other Swedes. At least not by others. It led to a complex self image, but above all to the situation that they didn’t get the jobs they, according to all statistics, should have got considering their academic achievements.

We in Sweden have long sought to simplify the higher unemployment rate among immigrated citizens, an issue which has resurfaced after Statistics Sweden’s (Statistiska Centralbyrån - SCB) labour market report for the second quarter that was released recently. I would argue that this is a form of discrimination which has much more to do with where you live than what has been admitted.

In Botkyrka municipality, south of Stockholm, this becomes apparent if you compare the areas Fittja and Tullinge.

The employment rate among women born abroad is 42 percent in Fittja, and for women born in Sweden in the same area it is 52 percent. In Tullinge on the other hand, it is as high as 60 percent for women born abroad, and 72 percent for women born in Sweden.

The figures show that while international background plays a part, where you live is at least as important.

It is unsustainable that Swedes are treated differently and many times disrespectfully because of their national and international roots. The effect of this won’t be any London riots. The effect will be that people will close up shop and leave.

The contempt isn’t as explicit here, and when for example a police officer calls someone in Rosengård (an area in Malmö with a high percentage of immigrants) “apajävel” (litterally “damn ape”) it results in a form of hullabaloo that signals that society doesn’t accept contempt. That makes it difficult for violence to escalate.

But to exclude people from the jobs market because they are who they are, is also a form of contempt. And no one puts their foot down against that.

When there are no signs indicating change, many will look to the alternative of finding a society that suits them better. My friends who’ve moved abroad have stayed there much because they are seen as resources there, in countries as diverse as Chile, Italy and China.

In a clip SVT news programme “Aktuellt”, broadcast in connection with the SCB report they interviewed a guy from Rinkeby (one of the “million homes” areas outside Stockholm). I will never forget his words: “I want to make Rinkeby a better place. Try to make people understand that we are just like everyone else, and can get jobs like everyone else, like ordinary people.”

Ordinary people. Should he have to take responsibility to be seen and treated as an ordinary human being? Or should those with power over his life by having the opportunity to hire him do so?

Story continues below…

For me the answer is obvious. Because I have a sound view of human beings, but also because I have a knowledge of basic maths and I can read forecasts. Such as the one from SCB which shows that almost 10 percent of Sweden’s population in the year 2060 will be older than 80 years, compared with slightly over five percent today. All this during a prevailing population increase.

If we don’t all copulate freely we will surely need to increase immigration during the coming half century. And if we can’t even get the ones that have immigrated to stay, how will we then get others to want to come?

There is no alternative. We have to change our approach now.

Carlos Rojas is a journalist and the founder of an initiative which aims for change in the "Million homes" areas of Swedish cities. He was also one of the founders of prize-winning magazine Gringo which had some impact in the Swedish debate in the mid-2000s.

This article was originally published in Swedish in the Aftonbladet daily. English translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:11 November 7, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
"If we don't all copulate freely we will surely need to increase immigration during the coming half century."

This is a definition of a ponzi scheme. The author argues they will need immigration to support the amount of senior citizens in 2060. What happens when those immigrants brought in are too old to work, then you need even MORE immigrants to support the larger aging population. This is unsustainable and not a reason why one should increase immigration.
12:22 November 7, 2011 by JoshArnold
I am a software engineer by profession (Originally from Pakistan). Came to Sweden for my masters education. Did my masters in software engineering from a Swedish university (I didn't have to pay any tuition fee back then). After graduation I felt that since I have been taught for free while the cost was paid by the Swedish tax payers. So I have a moral obligation to pay back to the Swedish society. I got a really good job here and have been here for about 5 years now. Not only that I have worked here but I believe that have contributed to the system by paying taxes. BUT honestly I don't really feel that I would ever be accepted as an equal member of the Swedish society. Me not being accepted is the least of my worries. I am worried about my son and my daughter. No matter what they do, how angelical they remain in their actions. They would be "black heads". Honestly I don't think Sweden is a country for me or for my family. Despite all my attempts to "integrate" with the Swedish way of living and the Swedish society in general.

PS: I live in an extremely elite neighborhood of Malmo. But nothing changes the mentality of those who judge me by my black hair and wheatish skin.
13:08 November 7, 2011 by occassional

"After graduation I felt that since I have been taught for free while the cost was paid by the Swedish tax payers. So I have a moral obligation to pay back to the Swedish society."

Care to explain these thoughts in a bit more detail and how and why you entertained them? Of particular interest would be what you think Sweden's moral obligation to you and your family of 4 (?) actually is.
14:02 November 7, 2011 by JoshArnold

If you think that treating a human being without having biasness is something that a "civil" society should be obliged to do. Then that is the exact obligation which I believe the Swedish society in general should have towards me, my wife and my children. If you opine that giving me free medical care and my children free education suffices for the social equality that we deem necessary then I'll disagree. I don't consider it free because of the 35% of mine and around the same percentage of my wife's salary (my wife is in the same profession as I am) is paid as taxes. I am in no way trying to assert that taxation in Sweden is bad. As a matter of fact this is something that I really like about Sweden. Because of the taxes we pay we feel that we are actually contributing towards the society. The only thing which I believe; makes the Swedish society un suitable for me and my family is the general mindset of the Swedish people. The same mindset has already started to echo in the democratically elected parliament. Experiencing this mindset is something for which I don't actually need to visit the parliament. I get a firsthand experience of this mentality almost every week.
14:31 November 7, 2011 by occassional

You and your dependants should be traded with respect. That shouldn't even be debated. The question is what is it you actually believe is morally (as you put it) owed to you? I mean what exactly don't you like in the Swedish mindset and why?
16:16 November 7, 2011 by Migga
"It led to a complex self image"

Wow, nice to put the blame about your siblings lack of confidence on others. What about their own responsibilities? I guess it`s easier to blame it all on the racist Swedes.

"But to exclude people from the jobs market because they are who they are, is also a form of contempt."

There is discrimination, ofcourse there is. It exists in all countries. But for every case of discrimination there is also a case of a person who themselves exclude themselves from the job market. Either by crime, abusing the welfare system or the lack of education.

"If we don't all copulate freely we will surely need to increase immigration during the coming half century."

We shouldn`t copulate freely since the world is already overpopulated. We in Sweden are taking our responsibility in that regard. But there should be immigration. Selective immigration. Immigration from developed countries and not fake refugees who come here for the welfare checks. We don`t need analphabetic refugees from the other side of the world with a medival view towards women and people of other races, we need educated people.

Carlos Rojas represents the typical journalist view. The blame always lies with an imaginary racist system and never at a humans personal responsibility. They always see people as victims. Something that is wrong and at the same time demeaning towards those people. He doesn`t have a sound view of human beings, he views them as helpless victems when they are not. People are in charge of their own life.
17:52 November 7, 2011 by nibbler
"The employment rate among women born abroad is 42 percent in Fittja, and for women born in Sweden in the same area it is 52 percent. In Tullinge on the other hand, it is as high as 60 percent for women born abroad, and 72 percent for women born in Sweden"

These statistics are extremely vague, what is the age profile of the women? education level, cultural background? When did the women come to Sweden? As children or as young women and adults? Did a higher proportion of Swedish women continue to work even in lower paid jobs while they had children versus the women born abroad who remained at home, their skill set would differ and lead to being less attractive to employers. What is their language capabilities? I am not saying there isn't discrimination against foreigners, but there are plenty of people of Swedish heritage who have to leave Sweden due to job prospects. 8% unemployment.
19:07 November 7, 2011 by Migga
@ nibbler

Also, how many of those women are allowed to work by their husbands/fathers?
00:15 November 8, 2011 by Hen3ry
@ occasional

I wonder if maybe you missed (or misunderstood) what JoshArnold was saying.

Nowhere in his original text did he say that he felt Sweden has a moral obligation to him and his family. Yet you pursue him for a reply to your accusation as if he did. He talks only about *his* feeling of obligation to pay back something in return for what he had received through his education.

Deliberately or not, you chose to suggest that this guy was claiming that Sweden owed him something special. I don't see that anywhere in anything he wrote. The provocative nature of your comments (and those of others) in response to his mild-mannered words rather proves his point, I feel.
02:55 November 8, 2011 by bira
To draw the conclusion that "where you live" matters in terms of employment from the above is a flawed conclusion. One can just as easily draw the conclusion that those numbers are due to the fact that one area happen to house a lower level of employable people. To suggest that the employment numbers are lower at Fittja only because it's Fittja and not look at the educational level of the population, for example, is why we have the saying "lies, damned lies, and statistics".
06:13 November 8, 2011 by sleezypornorangutang

What a prognosis. Just think what happens when Asia and Africa start ageing. Prosperity does not breed more consumers to buy second-grade cars built to blow up at predetermined intervals.

Even russians are leaving Russia, so that country is also losing it's best and brightest.

This same pamflet goes around the world: We are aging, we are losing educated people to somewhere..

To where?? Is there some sort of black hole somewhere, sucking up all who seem to consider themselves priceless?
07:17 November 8, 2011 by knonwhite
It looks like most of the Swedes are impotent so that you need to bring immigrants to replace your ageing population...
07:58 November 8, 2011 by Uncle

Well surely not from YOUR potent kind.

The constant moan about the swedish racism towards immigrants or skåne people, or sami, or alcoholics standing outside "systemet" is getting old and tiring.

Sweden has the most advanced society that strives to get better and better. Its assistance to failing counties in terms of refuge or financial assistance is proven to be the highest per capita in Europe. Assistance programs are launched non-stop and an immigrant can afford to live quite well for 7 years on average until they get their first job. A magic impossible in "open minded" UK or US. Segregation of societies is not as obvious as in many other countries, gap between rich and poor is way smaller than in other countries. Education and healthcare are free. Children get free dentist care and the right to have their mother tongue taught in schools.

Most of racist attacks are performed by the "poor discriminated" immigrants and not against them.

As for attracting immigration. The journalist above does not get that the native swedes emigration is largely CAUSED by IMMIGRATION mostly indirectly. Bringing more immigrants will affect emigration trends also. Action and reaction in the nature.
09:56 November 8, 2011 by rolfkrohna
I am one of these people. I am "purebred" Scandinavian, if you excuse the term, I am educated on taxpayer's expense, but after leaving for a while, I could not readjust back to "Sweden" again. I have since lived much of my life in China, and I do not plan to come back. I will be happy to work for Sweden where I am, or in any Asia-Pacific country, but Sweden just don't want me, so to make a living, I work for "competition", countries who are trying to beat Sweden out from the export markets. How stupid can anyone get. 1.6 million has left Sweden in an accelerating exodus according to SVIV, the organization for Expats. When are Sweden going to knock on our door, they are welcome, just give us an offer we can't refuse, we'll take it, and it does not have to be heaven and earth or gold and riches, just ordinary. Come on Sweden. You can do it.
10:06 November 8, 2011 by Fernandis
@JoshArnold--------This'll never happen in Sweden what you expect or u desire with regard to you and ur family. The reason is very simple-----the background of immigration in Sweden is linked to only "Assylum Seekers or Refugees" and this is what an ordinary Swede starts making pic of a person with black hairs that either he/she is "Assylum Seeker or Refugees".
10:56 November 8, 2011 by MImran

I dont understand why people cant differentiate between "Asylum Seekers" and people with skills and high education ???

Skilled & educated people do not ask this society for social money, they like and strive to earn for living.........not waiting for start of month to get social.

Carlos is talking about these people, NOT about what you all are discussing. You/We need to make a distinction between people who cling to social and who make efforts and want to do something.

I am sorry to say but if you just visit Migrationsverket in any of city in Sweden, you will find that they are happy to offer you Asylum status BUT not a role to be productive and helpful to society. Just for an example, see how much time an Asylum seeker needs and how much a Self employment needs with Migrationsverket. I personally feel that policies of Sweden are counterproductive, since you are supporting idle people who want to stay at home THAN who want to be active.

My POINT is only to make you understand, that "Productive to Society" and "Burden to Society" should not be seen and treated with same stick.
10:58 November 8, 2011 by autonomy
I'm an immigrant to Sweden from the UK. I happen to have white (well, pinko-grey) skin and blondish (going greyish) hair, and am therefore treated remarkably differently to immigrants from anywhere with darker colouring, regardless of their academic or cultural roots, or reasons for coming to Sweden. Having lived and worked here for six years, I have encountered (in multinational companies) the kind of institutionalized racism that would be unthinkable even in a country like the UK which does not have the best record in that regard either. Just one of many examples: when considering applicants for a job, I was openly instructed by my native Swedish boss not to consider several candidate CVs with obviously non-Swedish names, even though several of these had superior educational and professional qualifications. When I went ahead and interviewed some of these candidates anyway, my boss refused to meet them for a second interview. In the end I stopped the recruitment process. What saddens me about this pervasive attitude in Swedish professional and social life is that this country is going to be left behind, not only morally and socially, but economically, if its population choose to persist in these attitudes. My Asian, British and American colleagues are shocked at the apathy, lack of professional responsibility and entitlement of many of the Swedes they encounter in work. As for myself, I fail to see how Sweden can survive on the global market when it deliberately promotes a workforce that is homogemous, lazy and self-satisfied, and trained from an early age not to achieve anything special or have ambition, for fear of making others feel "unequal". If anything, Sweden needs immigrants to challenge its prevailing Harrison Bergeron-esque style of equality and provide role models for those Swedes who might actually want to achieve their own potential, regardless of the pressure to be just as below average as anyone else. I fully intend to stay here and try to lead by example. When I hire people nowadays, I routinely whitelist candidates with non-Swedish sounding names, because I know they are more likely to be motivated, broad-minded and ambitious for their own personal development, as well as (like JoshArnold) motivated to give of themselves to an employer or a society which is paying for them. Functioning societies and companies are characterized by a balance between give and take between state/employer and citizen/employee and by advancement through merit rather than racial bias. My strong belief is that Sweden's social change when it happens will be sparked by an economic imperative and led by companies that will be forced to wake up or suffer the consequences.
11:25 November 8, 2011 by nibbler
Comment: @ Migga While I would support you and say it would be my belief that this is predominately true, in some cultures women do choose to remain in the home and raise their children. It would be unfair to tar them all with the same brush. @ Fernandis This is not just a Swedish Issue. This view of foreigners happens in countries across the world. My four year old nephew recently told some children he was playing with he was going on holiday. (We were actually travelling to my husbands home in Central Sweden). He was asked was he going home to Pakistan. Firstly his father is American not that his father's ethnicity should come in to the discussion but more worryingly these six and eight year old children already have the stereo-types ingrained in them. Things change very slowly.
11:33 November 8, 2011 by just a thought
@autonomy - Eloquently put and as an American who's been here for eight and a half years I agree absolutely with you. Unfortunately when stated it falls on defensively deaf ears because it's seen a slight on Sweden from a black man from the States when in reality I've invested my life heavily in this country and yearn for it to at least admit it's mistakes so the mistakes can be corrected. My children were born here and in order for them to have a fair chance and equal opportunities this broken system must be destroyed and rebuilt -- starting first with personal responsibility. I have my own startup and it amazes me how simple capitalism is thrown out for comfort and when I've point out the obvious people assume it's because I'm an 'angry black man' when there is very little that I've experienced differently when compared to my white US & British counterparts' experiences. Getting treated 'better than other immigrants' is also an insane argument I've heard but if I'm underemployed what good does a slightly better social status do for me anyway?
12:12 November 8, 2011 by Swedishmyth
Sweden is one of the worst Western countries to live in if you are capable of earning more than a manual laborer. You will get much more in return for your efforts and ability elsewhere, such as the US, Switzerland, Germany, various Asian countries, or even the other Scandinavian countries.
12:59 November 8, 2011 by Migga
@ MImran

I understand that. But I see both sides. The immigration policies in Sweden caters to the ones that are being prioritized. The ones being prioritized are the asylum seekers and their relatives. They need clothes, care, education and a place to live. So that`s what the policies focus on. Any other group are secondary. It`s safe to say that the politicans are out of touch with reality.

Why people may have a wrong view on immigration is because it`s almost only discussed as a problem. Even this article talks about a problem. We never hear about the succesfull stories of how someone moved here and found the land of their dreams. We never focus on what we have done right, only what we have done wrong.

@ autonomy

So you discriminate Swedes and favor immigrants? Do you feel that is right? You are also using your personal experience to judge Sweden as a whole. You seem to have a bad boss, not everyone does. How do you know that the swedish workforce is lazy, self-satisfied and not ambitioned?

@ nibbler

I agree. That`s why I asked "how many" instead of saying everyone.

@ just a thought

"Getting treated 'better than other immigrants' is also an insane argument"

You do know that it`s exactly what autonomy is doing if you read his/her comment, except immigrants get put forward ahead of Swedes in his/her job interviews. That`s not the right way according to me.
13:25 November 8, 2011 by autonomy
@just a thought: good luck with your startup and continue being reasonably angry - if only to shake things up a bit :-).

@Migga: look up the meaning of whitelisting. I never said I didn't consider native ethnical Swedes as job applicants (I have employed several). The boss I referred to is one I had several years ago, and my comments about the Swedish workforce are related to 19 years of experience working in UK, the Caribbean, the US, the Netherlands, China, India, France and Sweden. As with any generalization, there are notable individual exceptions, but I do feel that Swedes en masse tend to be held back from fulfilling their potential because they are encouraged not to stick out from anyone else - and many of my native Swedish friends agree with me.
13:27 November 8, 2011 by bronc
As an American, maybe I don't experience the same biases others do. I was welcomed here by my girls family and frields, and was able to quickly find a good job. My technical skills are luckily in high demand here, so my coworkers were even excited to be working with me.

But with that said, I have noticed that when I meet and interact with people who I don't know, like in restaurants, in stores or out having a beer, that immigrants (even second generation immigrants) are by far more friendly and welcoming to me than native Swedes. That may be a cultural thing? I can't say since I've only been here about 4 months. But I've been told, even by my friends who are native Swedes, that "that's just how Swedish people are." I'm not sure if that's any kind of justification for it, but it helps me at least understand it.

I haven't seen the racism or biases (yet), but me pet peeves that I have noticed are that Swedes don't have the same common courtesy as we do in the US, and they for sure as heck can't make a martini! WTH, how hard is it to make a good martini? I should complain to the UN! :)
13:37 November 8, 2011 by Migga
@ autonomy

"Whitelist is a (controversial; see below) term used to describe a list or register of entities that, for one reason or another, are being provided a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition."

I`d say it`s to favor something. You should try to be more equal against everyone, no matter their name.

And even when Sweden isn`t fulfilling their potential we are still in the top of the world. Nice!
13:53 November 8, 2011 by just a thought
@Migga - I was speaking in regards to social situations, not job-wise, and from what I read @autonomy didn't mention any sort of reversed discrimination of any sort. You should consider the point of view (and the fact that we live here and see things you wouldn't) before wholeheartedly jumping in to defend what you perceive as unfair criticism. I've been to multiple interviews only to be told that while I'm very qualified for the job they would feel "more comfortable with a Swede" (in some cases who happened to less qualified).

@autonomy - Thank you it's been rough and frustrating but hopefully I'm at the end of this tunnel before the end of the month!
14:01 November 8, 2011 by Migga
@ just a thought

I guess we read it differently. I`m not defending it, I`m saying that it`s autonomy personal experience. I don`t see it as unfair criticism since I know it exsists. I just don`t belive it`s a big of a problem as some make it out ot be. And that the problem lies with both the person applying to the job and the ones hiring.

If it was such a major problem then Sweden would be doing alot worse then what it is doing. At the same time I can only imagine how it is in other countries who are doing worse then Sweden.
14:40 November 8, 2011 by omansour
educating foreigners in Sweden using Swedish tax payers money is considerably better than using that money to engage in wars (like what the US does). Sweden and Swedes must be proud to have had done this before. And I am certain that those who received the education will always pay back.
17:29 November 8, 2011 by seborga82
No wonder I am seeing so many "new swedes" telling the innocent Chinese they are SWEDISH in Shanghai. Many of these people are misbehaved under the cost of image of Sweden.
18:25 November 8, 2011 by just a thought
@Migga - it is an enormous problem, trust me, I've been here for eight and a half years and the majority of the people that I know from other countries are either underemployed (the vast majority) or unemployed. This is not due to lack of skill (these are people ranging from lawyers to branding experts) it's due to a system that is overt in it's condemnation of non-swedes coupled with individuals not taking personal responsibility to change it. There needs to be more than a passing admittance of this problem in order to confront it.

@omansour - Sweden was one of the biggest benefactors via contracts with the State Department for the wars not to mention it's habit of arms sales to countries the UN frowns on. Just because it's not overt in it's participation in the wars it's hands are far from clean.
00:57 November 9, 2011 by cupidcub
The current immigration policy of Sweden is just filtering out highly educated, well mannered and active people and importing uneducated asylum seekers who come here to live on social and spit in the bus.

In Migrationverket if you say I am a educated Swedish graduate, I want to find a job to earn and live here, I need a visa extension you will probably be laughed at. But if you say I am asylum seeker, you get much more even before you ask. Thats how Sweden is losing whom they need o work for a sound economy and importing junks.

Policies doesn't effect overnight, but you need to foresee whats coming. If everybody will start wait for socials who would pay the taxes ?

If you haven't read autonomy's comment, please read it. This arrogance of native Swede is not going to carry them for long.
03:19 November 9, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Sweden does more for its immigrants than just about any other country. I think immigrants to Sweden buy into the whole culture of entitlement as soon as they hit the ground. Immigrants in the US don't expect the benefits and good jobs that immigrants to Sweden expect. Immigrants to the US usually expect to start at the bottom and often their higher education credentials will have zero value. Not uncommon to see University educated immigrants in the US doing the most menial jobs. Immigrants to Sweden have it easy, I know that from personal experience.
06:28 November 9, 2011 by skatty
As a matter of fact, there is the clever immigrant, who can't afford to remain in Sweden!

A clever immigrant with a Swedish University degree may become a taxi driver (or get some other low level jobs) and pay his/her student loan to CSN or may find a good job, but to find a good job or become unemployed is more possible! Sweden will get back student loan by interest, no matter if the clever immigrant become taxi driver or find a good job.

In other word it's the clever immigrant, who can't afford to become taxi driver with a university degree, Sweden get the money back with interest any way! The best way is emigration for the clever immigrant in Sweden; just an idiot would remain, or a clever one, who can't leave the country for some good reasons!
09:41 November 9, 2011 by canuk
People from undesireable countries have figured out that they can use sweden as a back door to enter into many other countries by using Sweden as a stepping stone. To become a 'swedish citizen' demands only 5 years here in the country. the requirements to earn citizenship here are ridiculous. another failing of the swedish system. At that point they leave to my country or some other western non european country with their swedish passport. they were never swedish to begin with.
12:07 November 9, 2011 by raffaella
I have to admit, unfortunately, that i agree with the job discrimination situation.

Im italian, earn a degree, speak four languages and have a 12 years background experience in my field, and yet, after almost two years in Stockholm, I seem to be constantly refused by employers. They do not even consider calling me in for an interview. I believe it is crazy and sort of discriminating that, due to my nationality, that has no history of "fake refugee ", the highest image I can have of myself, is for me to be a dishwasher, a waitress, a black paid barista.

Why encouraging immigration (legal in my case, as a member of the EU) if no possibilities to be part of the society is given? Why should I feel inferior?

What a disappointment for me, to see that one of the most "avantguard" countries in the world (or so they consider themselves) still judges and treats NORMAL, EDUCATED people as inferior just because they are not blond, blue eyed and have a swedish name.

Im sorry...I dont mean to generalize....I have met wonderful people here, but job wise, racism rate is high, and it s a fact.
12:19 November 9, 2011 by Just_Kidding
Dear canuk, no one uses a Swedish passport to go to canukistan, the destination is always USA, and the reason is the high level of success fir people who immigrate to USA.
20:46 November 9, 2011 by eddie123
it is tragic but the more i think about the sentence "integration is nothing but an illusion of inclusion", the more i tend to agree with it. being an immigrant in Sweden has it's ups and downs. the sublime discrimination is real but the insulting part is trying hard to convince me that i have an equal platform as every other Swede.

i don't mind the discrimination if people are more open about it. they constantly deny the fact and they insult your intelligence by projecting the image - illusion of an open and equal society yet you seem not to find opportunities to contribute your quota to the system - be it at a professional or non-skilled level.

the truth is quite simple - the system is set up to encourage recipients of hand outs. uneducated, unintelligent and unmotivated immigrants from war ravaged countries. people with little to no aspirations. these are the people that Sweden wants. they do not want the educated, professional or highly skilled migrant that knows what they are doing and can challenge the statuesque.

this partly explains why for decades, Sweden offered free education to citizens across the globe but never really bothered to retain a significant portion of such highly educated demographic. instead, the country is awash with refugees and asylum seekers who never really bother to develop their competencies or takes jobs - they live off state handouts and make more babies to claim more upkeep funds from the state.

in the end, the average Swede can not make the distinction between a highly educated migrant and the so called refugees or asylum seeker on state welfare. we all get looped into the same category and are discriminated against or looked down on.

funny thing, most educated migrants out perform their Swedish contemporaries yet the system rewards mediocrity and frustrates genius. that is the Swedish way and if one is not comfortable with that - one is rightly advised to leave the country. surely, i will leave when i feel the time is right.
21:24 November 9, 2011 by bells on the knight
which one are they referring to
03:55 November 10, 2011 by skumdum
This so called discrimination thing going on is just Swedes telling you in a polite way that they don't want you here.

It's just natural that Swedes give jobs to Swedes first. After all it's their country.
05:24 November 10, 2011 by oldonpalouse
Good Job, all of you! This is a difficult problem for any country or area that has immigrants. In the US, there are stories all the way from it's inception of large groups of immigrants having problems integrating. The majority always becomes adept at picking out the appearance differences, although color of skin seems to enhance it.

Discussing it with low levels of hostility is admirable! Thank you.
07:17 November 10, 2011 by Just_Kidding
#38: maybe u r right, but it is not what they mention when e.g. advertise their universities to the foreign students.
14:49 November 11, 2011 by glamelixir

I would really appreaciate if you could look at my CV. Both to consider it or to give me any tips.

What you are describing reflects my frustration in the past 5 years I have spent in Sweden, working under the command of unexperienced Swedes, 10 years younger than me, while I have to do the dirty work (literally) after 10 years of experience, having worked in multinational companies, and going through my second master.

Sweden has destroyed the ambitious business person striving for excellence I once was...
17:29 November 11, 2011 by autonomy

If you're serious, then send it to me in a message here on TL if you can. I'll certainly have a look, but it kind of depends what industry and role you're in as to whether my input will be of any use to you.
23:59 November 11, 2011 by ccb

I couldn't agree with you more.


Like most people who do not experience what immigrants/non-Swedes have to endure you would never understand. Do you have at least one non-Swedish friend? Maybe they can give you a bit of insight.

I am from the UK, and as a black man, most people tend to immediately think I am a refugee or asylum seeker of course until I speak and then they look a bit surprised and usually tone down their indifference somewhat but it doesn't really make for a comfortable situation in any case. Anyway, I was lucky enough to find a job here which was actually offered to me actually I was offered two different jobs because I have quite rare and quite in demand education and work background. So I can say that some employers are not as backward thinking and discriminatory as many others seem to be. However I will not delude myself into thinking that I would ever fit in here no matter how hard I work and how good I am. Therein lies the problem. Of course the UK, US and other countries have their immigration issues, however, if one works hard and is dedicated, one is rewarded and can move up the ladder. The company where I work there is a brilliant non-Swedish engineer that worked at the company from its inception yet he is merely an engineer, no chief or anything no project manager. Year after year they bring in new Swedish staff that are grossly under qualified compared to this postdoctoral genius. These Swedes become his boss, poorly manage projects, get fed up and leave and the cycle starts again. Another guy there that is from another European country studied in similar course as me spoke 4 languages (including Swedish) fluently and had excellent grades. Yet I was told, (yes blatantly informed) that he was by far the best qualified but he isn't Swedish so they weren't sure they would employ him. I vowed then and there that if they didn't hire him I would quit. However, after some discussion I guess his superiority was too hard to overlook, especially in a company that badly needs an influx of competence. In the end they did and he is a fantastic worker.

I enjoy my job and the challenge of it but I never fool myself into thinking I would be doing it for an appreciable amount of time and that I would ever be able to reach my pinnacle here. I just enjoy the challenges and the additional work experience while constantly preparing for my impending exodus. I am sure there are many others like me. Sweden wastes talent and that wastage will have a huge negative impact in the increasingly globalised world.
09:38 November 12, 2011 by ann2
Fantastic shared experience. I'm an American married to a Swedish entrepreneur who started his own company because he couldn't stand the hiring practices of the places he worked. He makes use of all nationalities because he wants the best skills from people who want to work, and he has tutored himself in Russian in order to tap into labor markets. I work for the company too, an MA in English Literature who knows how to run an office. We just recently hired a Romanian pipe designer who happens to be female who lives in Botkyrka, in fact -- everyone is thrilled. Will I ever be part of this country? yes, but I'll never be part of the community.
18:06 November 12, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
This thing about acceptance is universal.

I look about as Swedish as you can get.

There are neighborhoods here in NYC that I do not go into because I look too different and experience has taught me that I am not welcome there.

Could I get a job there? LOL No way!
15:49 November 13, 2011 by just a thought
@Gamla Hälsingebock - I don't know exactly what you are trying to say here. As an American who moved here from Harlem I can't think of very many places in NYC that wouldn't hire you because you 'look swedish'. You made a definitive statement without giving any proof besides your biased opinion. What specific neighborhoods can't you go to? I hear this crap from Swedes all the time when they 'visit' Harlem "in the daytime because it wouldn't be safe there at night for them"... which makes zero sense.
02:41 November 14, 2011 by Bushyblondehead
Copulate freely? I don't understand his english words term. Go do it with everyone sounds like he saying.
12:35 November 14, 2011 by glamelixir
Absolutely @autonomy

I understand that it depends on that, I just feel that I could use a professional without prejudices giving a look at my CV.

Thank you so much.
01:31 November 17, 2011 by Chickybee
@ JoshArnold: Josh, if you really feel that way then you are free to go back to Pakistan. Yes, you didn't have to pay for your Master's degree as you say. However, I think your reasons for staying on are not completely altruistic - Pakistan has much truthfully less to offer you - freedom of religion and the welfare state are definately not the case.

Try living as a Christian or other non-Muslim religion in Pakistan and it's almost impossible yet those Pakistanis/immigrants have NO choice and do not live in elite neighbourhoods like you apprently do.

I would not stay and 'suffer' as you do - you've only been in Sweden for 5 years now - it's not too late to go back.

I don't think you'll get much sympathy here when there is no real problem as you're not being physically harmed. Get real.
12:02 November 17, 2011 by diegoveggie
i love (hate) the fact that quite usually swedes refuse to listen to immigrants' experiences. they label them as isolated cases, etc or say go back to your country, like the comment above. it's telling and it shows some/most swedes refusal to accept this underlying racism.

their solution? 'vi gillar olika' on facebook. yeah, vi gillar olika, we just don't hire them (unless they are cleaning our offices at nite. after we go home. so we don't have to see them).
16:50 November 18, 2011 by John Ijspeert
Never know or notice Sweden is an immigration country. In the list of immigration country like Australia, New Zealand and even UK, the only thing they care is about money. Immigration is for money not for conscience. In New Zealand, there are a lot of Asians, they are still looked down upon nowdays! Not mention Sweden , a country which is more genetically pure.

I would say, there is no fairness in this world. Earning money or obtaining honorable awards is the only way to survive out of your home country. With as much money as possible in your pocket, whoever you are, immigrant or not, you give the order.

Look at Chinese, 30 years ago, nobody admits Chinese can reach out to Sweden but they bought Volvo and Saab from Americans. Can Swedes say no to them? I guess not. If there are no wars and the development of economy is balanced, immigration can be regarded as a "home move". Just because you are poor (less educated and less money), nobody would like to admit you as one of them. The only approach to pressure those people is to keep on upgrading yourself and become an influential member in this society. That is it! Until then, you move to any country you want to without caring whether Swedes accept you or not. Sweden is not the whole world! There are more countries out there!
17:25 November 18, 2011 by jomamas
So it seems that the presence of immigrants has created a great problem.

Perhaps Sweden should abandon it's immigration policy so as to avoid having this problem in the future.
09:36 November 19, 2011 by Icarusty
@ autonomy Then let them fail. As I have read in the business section regarding SAAB, Swedes (or possibly English immigrants posing as Swedes), they would rather let them "die with honour" then to be "tainted" by foreigners. More fool them when the world leaders in every aspect of society become increasingly "foreign" the next century.
11:29 November 29, 2011 by salalah

Those people from "undesirable" countries such as you mention obviously find Sweden "undesirable" also
17:32 December 15, 2011 by juvi999
JoshArnold, I have a blond hair and pale skin. If I don't open my mouth, I am mistaken to be a Swede. However, I am not. And I have been feeling the same way as you do and I have been told on many occasions that things will not improve.

I personally do see everyone equally the same. For me, if one was born or grew up in Sweden despite one's colour or heritage, he or she is a Swede. Hopefully one day pale skinned blond Swedes will realise that too. We should not all be identical in order to be accepted.
00:26 December 20, 2011 by kinan
It is not good nor easy to live in Sweden as a foreigner unless you are white , blonde and European or northern American .
15:01 December 23, 2011 by Chickybee
I'd say to anyone who doesn't feel wanted - just don't live there.

This pales into comparison with Copts in Eygpt who are hated and killed for not being Muslim - get a grip.
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