Study: Sweden Has Most Difficulty Getting Migrants into Work out of Whole Nordic Area


A study by Professor Emeritus in Economics Lars Calmfors has revealed that compared to Finland, Norway, and Denmark, Sweden has had the most difficulty getting new migrants into the workforce.

Professor Calmfors noted that one of the main problems with getting newly arrived migrants into work is that many are low-skilled labourers and the barriers for entry into low-skilled jobs are much higher for them, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.

“It is an obstacle in Sweden that we have a high minimum wage. This then applies to retail and hotels and restaurants where many low-skilled people can get a job,” Calmfors said.

“I think we would also need a lower minimum wage. Then one could try to do it in such a way that one does not lower the minimum wage in general, but one tries to construct new types of low-qualified jobs that can simply be paid less,” he added.

Germany has attempted a similar programme in which the government subsidised so-called one euro an hour jobs, aiming at employing 100,000 migrants. Despite the programme, a report from earlier this year stated that around 65 per cent of the asylum seekers who had come to Germany in recent years remained unemployed.

Among those who did find work, the median salary for migrants was just 1,564 euros (£1,371) per month.

Eman, a Palestinian migrant in Sweden, explained her experiences to Sveriges Radio saying: “It’s not easy to find a job. Immigrants need to fight a little extra, in fact.”

“You need to have a network that helps you find a job,” Eman added.

The gap between the unemployment rate of native Swedes and migrants is large, with a report released last summer by the Swedish Public Employment Service revealing that the unemployment rate for native Swedes was just 3.6 per cent compared to the rate for migrants which stood at 19.9 per cent.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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