Sweden: Only 494 out of the 163,000 asylum seekers managed to find a job

EPA/JOHAN NILSSON SWEDEN OUT

A photograph made available on 20 November 2015 shows police organizing the line of refugees on the stairway leading up from the trains arriving from Denmark, at the Hyllie train station outside Malmo, Sweden, 19 November 2015.

Swedish Public Broadcaster, SVT, used figures by the national employment agency and the migration authority to reveal the current situation


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Asylum seekers are struggling to find employment in Sweden, according to a report by the Swedish Public Broadcaster, SVT.

The Local Sweden cited the SVT report which has revealed that out of the close to 163,000 people who applied for asylum in 2015, only 494 currently work. The SVT survey was based on figures provided by Sweden’s employment agency Arbetsförmedlingen and migration authorities Migrationsverket.

According to SVT, while awaiting for the outcome of their application, asylum seekers in Sweden are entitled to work only when the Migrationsverket issue a so-called “at-und” exception. Usually, the exception is issued automatically in case the asylum applicant has valid identification documents.

However, the Swedish migration authority couldn’t grant the exception for all the people in need due to the vast number of asylum applications. According to SVT, only a third of the people who applied for asylum in 2015 and aged between 20 and 64 have received the necessary work permit.

“It was an incredible number of people applying for asylum in Sweden and so that we would be able to register all of them, we had to de-prioritize certain tasks, and that was the matter of jobs,” Migrationsverket officer Lisa Bergstrand told SVT.

Fredrik Möller, integration officer at Arbetsförmedlingen, told SVT that the asylum seekers may “be registered in our database as unemployed, but they are only entitled to basic services, that is using our online services and talking to advisers. But there are no programme-based alternatives, that is no courses and no traineeships.”

Overall, it is more difficult for foreigners in Sweden to find a job. Days ago, the employment agency reported that even though the unemployment rate for the Swedish nationals stood at 4.7 percent in April, the unemployment rate for the foreigners stood at 14.9 percent.

Yesterday, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament adopted a draft report calling the Member States to support employment policies for refugees because this way they can become productive and useful for the development of the host societies.

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