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Unions fail to help undocumented migrants

Published tisdag 17 april 2012 kl 08.40
There are between 30 000 and 50 000 undocumented migrants in Sweden today. The union estimates that at least half of them have problems with their employers. Photo: Alex Brandon/Scanpix

The Swedish trade unions efforts to prevent employers from taking advantage of undocumented migrants has failed, Swedish Radio News reports.

The unions estimate that between 30 000 and 50 000 undocumented migrants currently work in Sweden. They say that since there is no way of tracking this group of people, many of them are taken advantage of by  employers.

“When you enter the labour market, a Swedish or foreign company does not matter, everyone takes advantage of you,” says Kemal, an immigrant who worked without a residence permit for five years before he achieved legal status.

“I worked 16 to 18 hour days but was not treated with respect. And there is always the risk of losing your job.”

Almost four years ago, Sten-Erik Johansson from the Swedish Building Maintenance Workers´ Union, opened a help centre in Stockholm together with 18 other unions. The idea was to help and support undocumented migrants.

But despite the effort, only 250 people have visited the help centre in Solna and the unions have only picked up about 30 cases of abuse.

“I do not think we have the right connections,” says Johansson. “You can tell since there are so few visitors.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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