Mixed results for Sweden refugee job push

Mixed results for Sweden refugee job push
Fifteen percent of refugees in Sweden who enrolled in the new establishment system the past two years have gone on to find job, new figures show, leading some observers to worry that the low success rate will place a burden on the benefits system.

The findings come following a review conducted by Sweden’s National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) of how 1,700 newly arrived refugees had fared in the new system, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported on Wednesday.

Since 2010, municipalities in Sweden have had responsibility for arranging Swedish language classes while the employment agency’s local office enrolled the new immigrants in an introductory programme.

An “establishment remuneration” is paid out from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) for a maximum of two years.

The review showed that 60 out of 1,700 new arrivals were working without any financial assistance from public authorities at the end of the two-year course. The majority were instead transitioning from the establishment programme to different programmes managed by the employment agency, where financial support is lower.

“The rest has to be filled in with social benefits,” Mats Johnsson, a local politician from Alvesta in southern Sweden told SR.

“Which means our tax-payers have to pay, which is not sustainable for the future.”

Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, however, told the broadcaster he thought the new system had yielded better results than previous refugee-introduction programmes in Sweden.

Among the initial batch of people in the programme, 173 left to take a job before the programme had finished, while 152 had gone on to study. Among those who completed the programme, a further 3 percent had taken up studying, according to the employment agency’s statistics.

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