Foreign-born residents will make up 60 per cent of Sweden’s unemployed by 2017, the country’s employment agency has said.
As the country struggles to deal with record immigration, the Arbetsförmedlingen predicted that unemployment would fall among the native population, but the jobless rate for migrants is set to rise.
At the moment, 21.8 per cent of foreign-born citizens are unemployed, meaning that around half of all unemployed people in the country are originally from abroad. This number is only set to rise, the employment agency says.
“The Swedish economy is doing very well. It is pleasing there’s such a good growth of new jobs,” said Arbetsförmedlingen Director General Mikael Sjöberg.
He added, however, that the country was facing an “increasingly difficult challenge” with the high levels of migration into the country. Many of the migrants, he said, have “little education”.
The Local reports that Sweden’s Migration Agency predicted in October that 190,000 people would claim asylum this year alone, although there now appears to be a small dip in the number of new arrivals after the government felt it had no choice but to tighten border controls.
A separate report by the IMF also predicted that unemployment would rise in the medium term due to high levels of immigration. “Rising migration inflows pose upside risks to unemployment for some years,” the report said.
The high rate of migration pours doubt on Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s pledge give Sweden the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union by 2020.
Last month, the country was forced to reintroduce border controls after the government admitted it could no longer control the large influx of migrants. The country suspended the Schengen zone at its southern maritime borders with Denmark and Germany, bringing in passport checks for incoming traffic.
When the new checks proved ineffective, however, the country tightened its rules even further. Sweden’s pro-immigration prime minister seemed distressed at the measures his government had to introduce:
“It pains me to say that Sweden can no longer take in asylum seekers at the same high level … Sweden needs some breathing room,” he said, adding: “We need to relieve the pressure (on the Swedish asylum system) so that more people seek asylum in other European countries.”
Sweden’s situation, he said, was “out of control”.