Sweden ‘fails to help well-educated foreigners’

Sweden 'fails to help well-educated foreigners'
The white-collar union Saco has lambasted Sweden's Employment Agency for its failure to help well-educated, foreign-born job seekers, whose unemployment rate is more than three times the average for people born in Sweden.

Saco, which represents university-educated employees, has spoken with 29 well-educated immigrants about their experiences dealing with Swedish authorities in their quest for work. Many said it seemed one state agency did not know what the other authorities were doing, and that coordination was poor.

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The study also came to the conclusion that the Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) does not have the knowledge of the job market required to guide well-educated immigrants to employment.

Among foreign-born job seekers who have studied some post-secondary education, unemployment in 2012 was 12 percent. Among highly-educated Swedish-born workers, in contrast, unemployment was 3.5 percent, according to figures from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån – SCB).

Meanwhile, the number of foreign-born job seekers has increased by between nine and 12 percent in the last few years, a surge credited to the financial crisis.

On Thursday, Saco organized a conference to present a slew of proposed reforms to help foreign-born university graduates enter the job market. They include more internships, a better system for translating foreign academic degrees and grades, and more Swedish language tuition.

TT/The Local/at

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