Three Times the Unemployment Rate of Native Swedes, Migrants Still Take Eight out of 10 New Jobs


The Swedish Public Employment Service projects that by 2018, eight out of 10 new jobs will be taken by foreigners – despite unemployment being set to increase from 50 to 60 per cent amongst migrants.

Remarking on the projections that foreign employment will also rise by two per cent, Employment Service Director General Mikael Sjöberg said: “This statement is a joy at a time when so many new arrivals enter the Swedish labour market.”

However, the report states: “Even though the unemployment rate amongst foreigners has recovered, the level is still more than three times higher than amongst the native born.

“The first quarter of 2017 saw the unemployment rate of 16.0 and 4.9 per cent, respectively.”

The report adds that Sweden’s employment gap between native and foreign-born workers comes only second to The Netherlands across the whole of the European Union, and that the proportion of registered unemployed amongst migrants is set to increase from 50 per cent to 60 per cent by 2018.

At the height of the European migrant crisis, Germany took in the highest number of asylum seekers, absorbing more than one million people from the Middle East and Africa. But it was Sweden that took in the highest proportion of migrants per capita, admitting 163,000.

In June 2016, Swedish broadcaster SVT revealed that of the 163,000, fewer than 500 migrants had found employment.

Admitting that unemployment is higher for the undereducated, notably amongst what the Employment Service called “newcomers to Sweden”, the government department plans to expand access to adult education to migrants.

“The upcoming expansion of adult education is an important step to getting more foreign-born people into work,” said Mr. Sjöberg. However, despite the director’s pledge, the report details that “irrespective of education level, foreigners show a higher level of unemployment and lower employment rate than native born”.

Though the department hailed that unemployment was projected to fall from 2016 levels of 7.0 per cent to 6.7 per cent by 2018, unemployment figures for Sweden from Eurostat, the EU office for statistics, reveal that Sweden’s unemployment rate rose sharply from 6.2 per cent in 2008 to 8.4 per cent in 2009 and has not recovered.

Coinciding with the fallout of the financial crisis, 2009 also saw immigration reach its highest level since records began with 102,280 people migrating to Sweden. Unemployment did not stabilise below eight per cent until 2015.


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