Majority of Sweden Jobseekers Foreign Born, Forecasts Warn Unemployment Levels Will Lead to Tax Hike

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The unemployment rate for foreign-born Swedish residents continues to remain far higher than the native population, with a new report showing that almost six in ten signing up for the Swedish Employment Service are born overseas.

The overall unemployment rate has dropped slightly over the last year by around 0.5 per cent to 7.2 per cent, according to figures from March of this year. The rate of unemployment for foreign-born residents fell by 0.7 per cent over the same period but 20.7 per cent of migrants, or one in five, are still looking for work, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.

It is estimated that individuals born outside of Sweden make up around 23 per cent of the country’s total population but they account for 58 per cent of the registered jobseekers, growing from 50.6 per cent in 2016.

Speaking to the broadcaster, KI chief forecaster Ylva Hedén Westerdahl explained: “Once you stay out of the labour market for a long time, you are forced to live off benefits, something that leaves a toll on the government finances.”

“We have a rights-based welfare system, entitling people to receive school, and care”, she said.

“It’s a generous system, but we need many people to work. If we are few, the tax burden will be high on those who do work. If we do not get more into the labour market, we will need to raise taxes in Sweden.”

At the end of last year, Swedish Socialist party Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson announced the retirement age would likely be raised in the near future in order to offset increased welfare costs. Breitbart London reported in March that Swedish municipalities were already considering raising taxes to pay for the arrival of migrants.

Håkan Gustavsson, Head of Employment at the Employment Service, commented on the latest figures saying: “We have many who are new in the country and unemployed during the establishment phase in the labour market.”

“The difference is so great because native-born workers work so much. Domestically-born women have extremely high employment rates compared with the rest of Europe. The difference in itself is no problem, but we have this challenge to get more into work,” he added.

For half of the new migrants, it can take up to eight years before they find a job and can take even longer for those with limited educational backgrounds. Around half of the migrants with a high school education who arrived 1997 took an average of 19 years to find work, while half of those who arrived in 2006 took ten years.

“There are still fine figures, there is a positive development that is pleasing,” Gustavsson said.

Last August, statistics revealed that the migrant population unemployment rate rivalled that of Greece, while the native Swedish unemployment rivalled some of the countries in the European Union with the lowest average unemployment.


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