E.g., 08/13/2018
E.g., 08/13/2018

Country Resource - Sweden

Sweden

SE
  • Population......................................................................9,960,487 (July 2017 est.)
  • Population growth rate .............................................................0.81% (2017 est.)
  • Birth rate.....................................................12.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
  • Death rate................................................9.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
  • Net migration rate...............................5.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
  • Ethnic groups........................................indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; most common countries of origin among immigrants: Finland, Syria, Iraq, Poland, Iran

CIA World Factbook

Although Sweden was once open to labor migrants from across Europe and refugees from all over the world, its policies have become increasingly restrictive over the last 35 years. Today, the country is wrestling with integration issues, as Charles Westin of the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Stockholm University, explains.

Recent Activity

Refugees attend a job training fair

After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

Drawn by generous asylum policies and the region's welcoming reputation, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Scandinavia in 2015. As the unprecedented flow overwhelmed the asylum systems of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, lawmakers began to recalibrate their policies, tightening asylum benefits in a number of significant ways, as this article explores.

Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.

As seemingly endless waves of asylum seekers and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, politicians from across the political spectrum invoked forceful anti-immigrant rhetoric that resonated in some quarters. Mainstream politicians began co-opting the tougher, more enforcement-laden language of far-right groups as all parties sought to reassure voters in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

Child migrants traveling alone to Europe or the United States face similar dangers and are particularly at risk of abuse and trafficking. The arrival of tens of thousands of such children in Europe and the United States have overwhelmed accommodations as well as legal and integration processes. Furthermore, the unprecedented flows have sparked heated public debate in a number of cities.

This article explores the underlying causes of the May 2013 riots across several Stockholm suburbs that have high proportions of foreign-born residents, and asks whether rapid increases in the size of Sweden's immigrant population or the government's integration efforts played a central role.
Although Sweden was once open to labor migrants from across Europe and refugees from all over the world, its policies have become increasingly restrictive over the last 35 years. Today, the country is wrestling with integration issues, as Charles Westin of the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Stockholm University, explains.
Only the UK, Ireland, and Sweden have allowed accession-state nationals to work without permits since May 1, 2004 — and hundreds of thousands from Eastern Europe have arrived.
The efforts of Nordic countries to provide safe harbor to refugees are outlined by Mette Honore, Senior Legal Consultant to the Danish Refugee Council.
Reports
June 2018

Though hardly new to most Nordic countries, radical-right parties have grown in popular support and political power in recent years. This report analyzes the role immigration has played in their rise and recent electoral fortunes in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. It also examines the strategies other parties have adopted in an attempt to limit their growth.

Reports
April 2018

With many young children among the refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Europe and North America in recent years, policymakers and service providers are grappling with the task of designing and scaling up critical early childhood services. This report examines the approaches taken in nine key host countries, highlighting common challenges and promising practices.

Designing Civic Education for Diverse Societies
Reports
February 2018

Across Europe, civic education programs are being asked to solve a range of social challenges—from dwindling political participation to the protection of immigrant and refugee youth from alienation and radicalization. While these challenges are shared across countries, the programs designed to address them vary considerably. This report explores differing models in Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Weathering Crisis, Forging Ahead: Swedish Asylum and Integration Policy
Reports
June 2017

As the number of asylum seekers arriving in Sweden each month climbed to the tens of thousands in late 2015, the Swedish asylum system reached a breaking point. Arrivals have since slowed, but the challenge is far from over. This report examines Swedish policymakers’ efforts to manage future flows and support integration of newcomers through changes to housing, employment, education, and health services.

Reports
November 2014
This report is the final one in an MPI-International Labour Office series that examines the employment prospects of migrants in the EU (focusing on the case-study countries of the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), as well as the effectiveness of integration and workforce development policies in helping these workers overcome barriers and ascend out of low-skilled work.
Reports
September 2014
Sweden’s strong economic record continues to be marred by its struggles to integrate immigrants, especially those who come through humanitarian or family channels. This report describes how Sweden is trying to overcome these labor market integration challenges and analyzes how successful its workforce development and integration policies have been in helping immigrants progress from low-skilled work to middle-skilled jobs.
Reports
July 2014
The global economic crisis and changing migration patterns in Europe bring up questions about how well immigrants are able to find employment and progress into better jobs over time. This overview report caps a series of six country case studies evaluating the employment outcomes for foreign-born workers during their first decade in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Reports
April 2014
Many of Sweden's immigrants are refugees who lack the skills and education to gain employment soon after they arrive. Over time, however, newcomers to Sweden have improved their employment rates, displayed income growth similar to natives, and moved from low- to middle-skilled positions. This report assesses how new immigrants—refugees, labor migrants, and others—fare in Sweden's labor market.
Reports
March 2011

The global economic downturn and rising debt levels in all European countries have put immigration at the forefront of many debates surrounding public spending. This report presents a diversity of findings with regard to European governments' responses to immigrant integration organization, financing, and programs.

Policy Briefs
April 2018

As policymakers in a number of countries, the United States among them, debate limiting family-based immigration, this issue brief explores family-migration trends and policies in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several other European countries. Family admissions play a key role, even in countries that prioritize economic or other immigration streams.

Books
June 2011

This edited volume addresses the impact of the economic crisis in seven major immigrant-receiving countries: the United States, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.