Government plans to put time limit on Swedish for Immigrants classes

TT/The Local
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Government plans to put time limit on Swedish for Immigrants classes
Employment and Integration Minister Johan Pehrson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden's government is considering placing a time limit on Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) classes as part of a reform aimed at increasing employment among immigrants in Sweden.


Employment and Integration Minister Johan Pehrson described learning the Swedish language as "crucial" in getting immigrants into the Swedish labour market, at a press conference announcing the government's plans, where he added that immigrants have taken longer than expected to complete SFI courses in recent years.

"That's why we're considering introducing a time limit."


The gap in unemployment between people born in Sweden and people born outside of the country is "very large", Pehrson said, despite the fact that there are many industries in dire need of staff.

"It's crucial that people speak Swedish if they are going to work in these roles," he said.

Despite a recent trend of unemployment rates dropping, Pehrson warned that this may not remain the case for much longer.

"The period of low growth will most likely have an effect on unemployment and employment rates," he said.

He also hopes that SFI classes combined with work could be more effective for integration.

The government will now consider the suggested time limit in more detail, including how it would actually work in practice and when it could come into effect, before officially submitting a proposal.

Wednesday's announcement is based on an inquiry submitted to the previous government in 2020. That inquiry proposed it should only be possible to study SFI for four years, after which it could be extended one year at a time at the discretion of the course organiser.


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