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Educated immigrants a third less likely than Swedes to have a job

Published onsdag 11 maj 2016 kl 10.18
Statistician: "Employment figures for people who came for asylum reasons are lower"
(1:28 min)
JESSICA GOW / TT
Photo: JESSICA GOW / TT

A new report shows immigrants with university-level educations are about 30 percent less likely to be employed than similarly trained people born in Sweden. That gap is likely to increase when the record number of asylum seekers is taken into account.

Wednesday Statistics Sweden released a report based on surveys conducted in September of last year just before tens of thousands of people arrived in Sweden to seek asylum.

"The employment figures for people who came to Sweden for asylum reasons are lower than employment figures for those who came to Sweden for work or study reasons," said Tomas Westling, a statistician at Statistics Sweden speaking with Radio Sweden.

Six of ten foreign-born people with at least three years of college reported that some type of employment was their main activity. That proportion jumped to nine of ten for a small sample of people born in Sweden who were surveyed, according to an English summary of the report.

That discrepancy is similar to the one found in 2009 when Statistics Sweden conducted a similar report. But Westling said the report found only five of ten respondents who had come to Sweden for asylum reported employment.

The survey also found lopsided numbers for respondents who said they were unemployed. Ten percent of the foreign-born said they were jobless versus just one percent for native-born Swedes. The survey also showed a large discrepancy between the groups for whether respondents believed their employment was suitable to their level of education.

The survey was conducted during a week in September and given to people aged 25 to 64 who had immigrated between 2003 and 2014. Respondents most commonly blamed lack of contacts and limited language skills for their trouble finding work that matched their education.

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