A teacher and students at a Swedish for immigrants course in Täby municipality.
A teacher and students at a Swedish for immigrants course in Täby municipality. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

What can other countries teach Sweden about integration?

4:22 min

A new report looks at Swedish integration efforts and those of four other European countries to see what Sweden could do differently to help migrants start a new life here.

Patrick Joyce works for the think-tank Ratio and is the author of the report that compares how so-called "humanitarian migrants" - or asylum seekers - are received and resettled in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland and Germany.

One striking difference between Sweden and its European peers is that asylum seekers are allowed to settle wherever they want in the country and that there is no language requirement for getting permanent residency.

"That's the trouble because language ability is a very, very potent predictor of how you will fare in the labor market in the long-run," Joyce says.

Overall, Joyce says what seems to make integration work best is having a manageable number of asylum seekers, keeping processing times for asylum decisions short, teaching newcomers the language and getting them to work.

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