Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. Photo: Björn Runemark/Sveriges Radio

Sweden second worst at job-market integration

Sweden is second worst at employing immigrants within ten years of their arrival, according to a study from Stockholm University that has compared results from 15 European countries. It shows that a quarter of Sweden's foreign-born population is unemployed during the first ten years here.

"Those who have been here for up to ten years have a lower rate of employment and higher unemployment than in many other European countries," the sociologist Ryszard Szulkin tells Swedish Radio News.

His study compares Sweden with the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Norway and eight other countries. Sweden and Denmark show especially negative results.

In Sweden, 27 percent of women are unemployed during the first ten years in the country, and 23 percent of men, according to the study.

"That is a failure," Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag tells Swedish Radio. "We have problems in Sweden, as in other countries, with discrimination and prejudice. Many of the 15 percent of Sweden's foreign-born population still identify as immigrants and do not feel they are a part of society. That is a problem for much of Europe."

The study also shows that after ten years, Sweden fares better in comparison with the other countries, as unemployment then drops to 11 percent for both groups.

"An optimistic view of the results is that it takes a long time, but sooner or later most become active on the job market, even if it takes a long time," says Ryszard Sulkin.

A reason for the long integration process could be that Sweden has received more refugees than the other countries in the study, who have had a higher rate of labour immigration.

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