The Swedish Public Employment Service is in the initial phases of opening an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to prepare Somalis immigrating to Sweden in advance of their arrival, reports Swedish Radio News.
By mapping out the educational and employment backgrounds of job-seekers, the employment service hopes the pilot project can save time by identifying appropriate courses for these Somalis to take once they reach Sweden, or even possible employers to offer them work.
Mattias Wahlsten, a coordinator at the employment service, tells Swedish Radio News that, above all, they want to communicate to these people that when they come to Sweden, they can get help from the employment service, which offers an introduction program for two years.
Specifically, the program intends to help Somalis who have been granted Swedish residence permits in order to join their families here. Of the 4,000 Somalis who have been granted such permits in the last year, only about 1,000 have come so far.
Most of the rest are waiting in Addis Ababa, where the Swedish embassy is located. Somali organizations in Sweden have been suggesting that, like other countries, Swedish authorities should open offices in the places where Somalis are waiting to leave.
As of November, Somalis were the fastest growing immigrant group in Sweden, but only one in five has found work.