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Thai workers sort blueberries.

OECD says Sweden negligent on migrant labour

"Closer co-operation is one step"
4:44 min

OECD is set to criticise Sweden for mismanagement of how migrant labourers are treated in the country, reports Swedish Radio News. The Swedish unions and border police have both expressed concern that there is too little investigation into the conditions for foreign workers.

"The Migration Authority must become better at looking into if there are abuses," says Migration Minister Tobias Billström to Swedish Radio News.

It is the Migration Authority that receives applications for allowing labourers to Sweden from countries outside the European Union. Since 2008, when a new law made the import of labour easier, 47,000 permits to work in Sweden have been granted.

Several high profile cases of abuse, especially in the berry picking industry in the expansive north of the country, were discovered last year. It garnered attention also from foreign news media with, for example, The New York Times publishing a feature on the topic.

Minister Billström now wants the Migration Authority to coordinate more closely with other agencies such as the Tax Authority which can access the financial details of the applicants. "That way we can exclude companies who can't pay the wages," says Billström to Swedish Radio News.

Billström does not want to comment the OECD report as it has yet to be published but called it "important." It should be delivered to the Swedish government in December.

The Migration Authority has also called for more scope to do checkups after the permits are granted. Spokesperson Jonas Lindgren tells Swedish Radio News, "We can do random checks to follow up on some cases but we do not have an overall system in place to do so regularly. That means we don't have any actual statistics on how much cheating there is."

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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