The number of immigrants getting jobs in Sweden increased from 11,200 in January to 16,800 in June, figures from Sweden’s Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) showed on Tuesday.
One explanation for the increased demand for foreign-born workers is the decrease in the number of native Swedes between the age of 16 and 64.
Since 2008, the Swedish-born portion of the working population has shrunk by about 22,000 people per year.
“The supply of native-born people is smaller. Therefore, the new jobs mainly go to foreign-born people,” explained Johan Bissman, the head of unit at Sweden’s Employment Service.
The demand for foreign workers is particularly high in Sweden’s service sector.
“It is very clear in our service industries, such as property maintenance, cleaning services and home services. They (these industries) survive because there are people from other countries to recruit. Without them, the sectors are not able to function,” Ulf Lindberg from the employers’ organization Almega told Swedish news agency TT on Tuesday.
However, the demand for foreign workers is not limited to low-skilled jobs.
“Both economists and engineers are in short supply,” Lindberg said. “Therefore there is a great demand for foreign graduates. We have been bad at getting them, but we’ve got better at it.”
IT consultants are the largest group of labour migrants, with most coming from India, Russia and the former Eastern Bloc.
According to the Employment Service, the employment rate is now 64 percent among foreign-born people in Sweden. The figure is slightly higher for those with post-secondary education at 76 percent, showing an increase of five percentage points in ten years. For those born in Sweden the employment rate is 79 percent.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among foreign-born people in Sweden is 22 percent, while the rate for those born in Sweden was found to be much lower at 7.5 percent in June.
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