Löfven presents Sweden Together initiative

The centre-left government has presented a new plan for helping newly arrived migrants settle into Swedish society. 

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced Thursday that he wants to gather a large, diverse group comprised of representatives of different sectors of society for a national gathering in October under the banner Sweden Together. The idea is to discuss how to integrate migrants and refugees.

Municipalities, public-sector employers, unions, sports associations, faith groups and others will be invited to the major conference, Löfven said.

"I want to gather Sweden now into something we are calling Sweden Together. This is an arena where we can show the good efforts that exist, to develop them, and to see what we can do together," Löfven said.

Löfven also addressed those who do not want Sweden to accept a larger number of refugees and migrants. He said: "There are many who are now raising money, but there are also many who are worried. But we’re investing in jobs and schools to change the dynamic and to help each other to build Sweden. It will be fine," he said. 

A doctor, dentist or engineer from Syria will have immediate opportunities to start working in Sweden,  Löfven said at a Thursday press conference. He called on the public sector to help the newly arrived settle in Sweden.

"We want people to receive a quicker option if they come from a different country, so that they do not need to wait until their asylum application is approved. The integration can begin during the asylum application period," Löfven told Swedish Radio News.

The prime minister said that many different areas, such as the industrial and construction sectors as well as the public sector, can cooperate with trade unions and employers.

"Then the public and private sector partners are taking and receiving a responsibility, allowing Sweden to have access to resources here while at the same time helping people establish themselves," Löfven said.

Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson, also addressed media at the press conference, saying: “I have hopes that all unaccompanied migrant children will receive a good reception. School, civil society and the labour market must take responsibility for all who come.”

The Swedish Employment Agency will also play a role in deciding where in Sweden to send newly arrived refugees and migrants. Johansson said: "The Employment Agency will quickly map out what skills and training the person has so that they are sent to the right municipality from the outset."

The government wants to raise payments to municipalities receiving new arrivals by 50 percent.
"That's a hefty raise," Johansson said.

The municipalities' compensation for arrivals increased from SEK 83,100 per person per year to SEK 125,000.

Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke said that, next year, SEK 50million would go to language teaching and to create meeting places.

Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said that increased funding was needed in the school system to meet the extra demand of new arrivals in the country.