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Few migrants without education attend classes

Published onsdag 19 juli 2017 kl 09.09
Many immigrants find adult education classes a challenge.
Many immigrants find adult education classes a challenge. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Less than four percent of immigrants who lack a secondary school education are trying to catch up with adult education classes, new figures show.

According to January figures from Sweden's state employment service, only three to four percent of those arriving with low levels of education are enrolled in adult education classes two years after receiving a residency permit.

"It means their chances of getting a job are significantly reduced," Annie Rubensson, head of integration at the National Employment Service, told Swedish Radio.

"We are working hard to motivate them, and we are going to increase our career counselling efforts to inform them about what's needed in the Swedish labour market. It can't be assumed that people know that you need a high school education to get a proper job in Sweden."

Sweden's government in 2015 agreed with opposition parties to bring in compulsory education for immigrants with lower levels of education, as part of the Immigration Agreement with four of the centre-right Alliance bloc. 

Those who refuse risk being stripped of benefits payments.

Professor Olof Åslund at Sweden's Institute for the Evaluation of Labour Market Policy (IFAU), said that compulsory education was a good first step in combatting the issue. 

He told Swedish Radio that for many new arrivals, getting paid work seemed the top priority. 

"It's most important to get an income and they don't believe that education will bring that much of an income improvement," he said.

"This risk of incorrectly assessing the costs and benefits of different choices isn't limited to immigrants with low education."

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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