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Somalis fare better in the US than Sweden: report

5 Nov 2012, 10:18

Published: 05 Nov 2012 10:18 GMT+01:00

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Roughly every other Somali immigrant in North America has a job, while only 20 percent of the Somali immigrants in Sweden have jobs, according to a report released on Monday by the government's Commission on the Future (Framtidskommissionen).

The report, entitled "Somalis in the labour market – does Sweden have something to learn?" (Somalier på arbetsmarknaden – har Sverige något att lära?) and presented on Monday to Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, was ordered by the government in order to provide proposals for improving the employment situation for Sweden's rapidly-expanding Somali population.

The report finds that Somalis in the United States and Canada have had an easier time finding work in part because non-government groups with strong ties to the Somali community play a larger role in helping newly arrived immigrants look for work, find housing, and start companies.

In an opinion article published in the Expressen newspaper, the author of the report, Benny Carlsson of Lund University, explained that Sweden would be well served to let community-based organizations do more to help integrate Somali immigrants, rather than relying on public agencies to play a leading role.

"In Sweden, government agencies try to integrate individuals. This is problematic, not least when it comes to Somalis, who are often unfamiliar with or have had negative experience with government agencies," Carlsson wrote.

"Would Swedish government bodies dare hand over some of the responsibility and resources to ethnic-based organizations focused on helping new arrivals or those suffering from social exclusion to navigate Swedish society?"

According to the report, one of the reasons there are so many unemployed Somalis in Sweden is that roughly half have arrived in the last five years and 70 percent have low or unspecified levels of education.

Carlsson explained that other factors such as language also have an impact on how Somalis are integrated in Sweden, but added that Sweden's rigid labour market and labour protection laws also create "higher risks" for employees which amount to "higher thresholds" for Somali jobseekers.

Many Somalis also had some knowledge of the English language before leaving their homeland, something which made it easier for them to start a new life in English-speaking countries like the United States or the UK, compared to Sweden, where many had to first learn Swedish before entering the labour market.

The structure of the labour market in Sweden, which the report cited as provided limited access to "simple jobs" compared to the United States, for example, has also made it harder for Somalis to success in the Swedish job market.

Carlsson also cited Sweden's social safety net which "lets people live at a decent level even if they don't work, while the same can't be said of the United States".

There are currently 40,000 Somali immigrants in Sweden, according to SR, and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) expects 20,000 more asylum seekers and accompanying family members to arrive in Sweden in the next year, making Somalis the fastest growing immigrant group in Sweden.

Awes Ahmed Osman, a Somali refugee who now works to help newly arrived Somalis adjust to live in Sweden, praised the reports proposal to give community groups more of a role in integrating Somalis.

"It's a very good proposal to let Somali organizations manage information about how Swedish society works. There are big differences between how the Swedish system and the Somali system work," he told the TT news agency.

He added that Sweden should take advantage of Somaliss entrepreneurial spirit by fostering local marketplaces in neighbourhoods with lots of immigrants, another one of the report's proposals.

Story continues below…

However, the integration minister expressed concerns about giving more responsibility to Somali community groups.

"As a complement, I think it's a great idea. But I have doubts about completely handing the process of integration over to ethnic groups. It can be a dual-edged sword," said Ullenhag.

"But the most important conclusion from this report is that we can learn from other people to become better."

TT/David Landes

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Your comments about this article

12:44 November 5, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
The author finally nailed it in the end. In Sweden there is no economic incentive to work due to the education and skill level of Somalis. In the US, they HAVE to work or they starve so of course they have higher levels of employment. I would argue this is true of every minority in Sweden when compared to the US or even UK, Canada, etc.
13:00 November 5, 2012 by Rishonim
This is a no brainer. In the US, Canada, GB, NL, FR etc. they know that each person has something to contribute regardless of their color or names; while Sweden don't believe in that principle. Look at the UK Sri and Gopi Hinduja, the Reuben brothers. In the US we have the founder of Ebay, one of the founders of Google and many others. Had those same people migrated to Sweden, they would have been sitting behind a ticket booth in the T-banan. So yes, it doesn't surprise me that Somali's and many other immigrant groups fare better in the US and other parts of the world. Sweden is for Swedes when it comes to jobs, regardless if you graduated the first in your class from École Polytechnique or from IESE. If your name is Mourad or Anacleto, you will not get a proper job in Sweden. Not even at Systembolaget! Of course they will bringing tons of refugees just for show and cast them away to a refugee camp in Rinkaby or fittja. Heja
14:00 November 5, 2012 by Grokh
all i hear from somalis is that they are generally lazy and even when at work they are resting.

and this i hear from foreigners not swedish people, maybe because they dont need to work since sweden pays them to just showing up.

theres also a problem with education almost all somalis have absolutely no education.

i dont get why sweden next year will take around 50.000 new asylum seekers when all the current immigrants, are not properly settled in.

do swedish politicians think sweden is a clown car where everyone fits in ? lol
15:16 November 5, 2012 by dw
Somalis fare best in Somalia. Not sure why they would want to leave that tropical paradise of sand and sun.
17:22 November 5, 2012 by truthworthy
@Grokh Somalis are neither "lazy nor have almost all Somalis no education" as you put it. As the report describes there are many factors that contribute to the situation and this is not unique to Somalis in Sweden. The difficult employment market, the language, the welfare all contribute to the problem.

This articulate proves that Somalis are not lazy but instead are active people who are willing to work and be part of the community if the community is open. And as we all know, the Swedish community is not open.

@dw no one wants to leave a paradise but you probably don't know about the circumstances in Somalia in the last 20 years.

I don't really thinking handing the responsibility to ethnic organisations will either solve the problem.
19:18 November 5, 2012 by godnatt
Big surprise... The fact that they have to work for a living instead of being allowed to leech off the system for life may have something to do with it.


Yes, we all know about the problems in Somalia....all of which stem from the fact that there are lots of Somalis there.

And now we get to enjoy these high performing lovers of female circumcision as well! Gotta love forced "diversity".
19:19 November 5, 2012 by jostein
Here is a blogpost by Tino Sanandaji at Chicago university about this issue:

19:19 November 5, 2012 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
Anybody can fare better outside Sweden even Swedes.

there is very little the politicians can do about that statistics if the populace do not welcome the foreigner. And there is no need to import more if they are not going to be accepted. IMO
20:04 November 5, 2012 by matona1
Anybody can fare better outside Sweden even Swedes,but sweden is for swedes,leaving Africa to sweden is a great mistake,africa economic is growing with high speed now,and their is happines in every conner you turn your head .but here is a city of sadist,if your name is not gustavson no job for u
21:09 November 5, 2012 by intrepidfox
The problem is with Somalians is that nobody likes them not even other muslims or immigrants.
00:46 November 6, 2012 by Smartone
Sweden is for Swedes that's a fact.

Anyone with name other than Swedish name will not be even bothered for the job interview. No matter, how brilliant, educated, skilled he or she is? Simply, if you end up finding no job, go get yourself delivering Reklam (Adverts) or night papers. If you can't do it then sell Kebab or work in pizzeria depending on your personal financial circumstance.

Employment laws should be made such as, all Employers must deal every individual regardless of race, color, gender, religion and nationality to make progressive and stable working environment.

Reconsideration of jobs policies and employment rules is very important to save the struggling economical condition. If you can't bring a change then Sweden will lose even Swedes who are leaving Sweden to work in Norway!
01:13 November 6, 2012 by G Kin
If any one has lived in Sweden then you will of course understand the reason very well. As a non swede having a job in Sweden is very though regardless of your education or personality. Even non swedes educated in Sweden still do not get jobs yet less educated/less qualified swedes have it much easier to have jobs.

Basically, Sweden ruins the lives of foreigners living in Sweden and they the swedes know it very well.

I believe individually swedes are sad and selfish people who can't afford to give a foreigner (invandrare) whom they see as less deserving, a chance to have a happy productive life.
01:34 November 6, 2012 by Grokh
@truthworthy i was just saying what i hear. i also hear ppl saying portuguese are lazy and yet i used to work 18 hours a day and im brazilian which people assume are the laziest people in the world.

but that doesnt mean they are settled and whatever is happening to the somalis is the same happening to all other immigrants so why single them out ?

actually sweden is pretty open im having a wonderfull time here, the people that dont fit in after all the state sponsored integration programs are people that do not want to fit in and live in neighbourhoods where they just hang around with people from their own country. as for jobs the lower education people have the harder it is, and its more true to somalis than most, point is even swedes with low education have trouble.

which brings me to my last point. why bring 50.000 asylum seekers to sweden when the current swedish population is already facing trouble regardint employment and integration.

it has become so impractical that i go to school and i hear immigrants talking about voting for sverige demokraterna which is the most stupid thing ever. Sweden is oblivious or in complete denial of whats going on.

if sweden wants to give a better life to people who come from a failed state they should first clean up their own house before bringing more people. its not racism its just the logical and rational thing to do,
02:16 November 6, 2012 by Enjoyourlife
I am actually living in middle east called botgryka + masmo and vârby gârd. Why bring people from the same region? muslims for that matter. they speak arabic everywhere. Black and muslim is not a good combination_somalians.
04:30 November 6, 2012 by G Kin

So you have a problem with some one just because they are black?. Oh yea, great. Very open minded.
08:04 November 6, 2012 by Darthkuriboh
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:30 November 6, 2012 by skatty
Somalis are the scapegoat in all Swedish arguments about immigrants (another scapegoat is Swedish language!). Somalis and Swedish language are like emergency button; whenever Swedes find it hard to argue issues on immigrants, they push these two buttons.

Come on, even high educated qualified immigrants cannot find job in Sweden!

The policy of Swedes is to concentrate on unskilled immigrants, and generalize immigration problem as a problem with unskilled people, which is quite nonsense. And when somebody says that there is also problem with educated immigrants, the answer would be "you should learn Swedish language to find job!"
20:27 November 6, 2012 by WhiteRabbit1807
In the 1960's "Anti-racists" forced ALL and ONLY white countries to open their borders to non-white immigration. Then "Anti-racists" forced ALL and ONLY white people to "integrate" or face consequences for being "naziswhowanttokill6millionjews." Now "Anti-racists" are calculating that ALL and ONLY white children will become minorities and eventually EXTINCT. If "Anti-racists" did this to ALL and ONLY black countries, it would be called a genocide. "Anti-racist" is a codeword for anti-white.
03:47 November 7, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Good: hopefully the Somalians will move to the USA then. Sweden should not have ANY muslims. This is Northern Europe, not Africa!
18:04 November 7, 2012 by rise

"Good: hopefully the Somalians will move to the USA then."

Yes, this "sad" news actually made me happy.
18:06 November 7, 2012 by Nilspet

Yes "scapegoat" I agree with you.

Also want to mention that Sweden largely ignores highly-educated foreigners who have integrated themselves into the Swedish society. Foreign PhD students should be given a PUT after their studies as most of them have acquainted themselves with the Swedish system and culture here. They would be good human resources and tax payers. Sweden misses a lot by trashing them.
22:02 November 7, 2012 by basenbeats
The stupidity of all the racists here is utterly repulsive but not surprising to say the least. this Juvenile behavior is an indication of immaturity and a false sense of superiority that is very evident in all European countries. Who are swedes kidding, numbers don't lie, at the moment your country suffers from an unemployment rate of 7.4%!!!!!

Before you post dog feces about a minority group comprised of mainly women and small children, and you attribute your failures as a country look at the mirror because the problem lies with you.

God bless Canada!!
20:24 February 1, 2013 by Omicron

You are very right. Europe is a breeding ground for racism and this issue is not a Swedish problem. The same prejudice and discrimination prevails in almost every country with slight exception of UK. I know many highly educated Africans with masters and PhDs. Those lucky ones who have moved to US/Canada have become successful in academia, business etc. The unlucky ones who stayed behind in Europe are still working on some sort of dirty jobs or remained mostly unemployed. Geography determines your fate!
17:20 February 23, 2013 by HungarianAmerican1975
Thus the best solution to end racism in Europe, is to send the non-Europeans back home and there will be no tention or hatred or mistrust when all you have left are people of the same background as yourself.
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