Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 19/04/23


Swedish Refugee Law Center Visit Website

The EUAA reports that  social orientation classes became obligatory in Sweden for all applicants as soon as possible after an application for asylum has been registered. The induction is now more comprehensive and delivered to all applicants over the age of 15 through two half-day sessions, while the material is adapted and in written for accompanied children and studied with the case officer for unaccompanied children. The sessions are organised in different languages in first reception centres or through videoconference for persons who have their own accommodation. The Swedish Migration Agency offers childcare while parents follow the course.[1]

When a person is granted a residence permit, they are entitled to an “Introduction Plan” to plan their education and professional development and provide for language training, courses on Swedish society, vocational training and work experience. The Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) has the responsibility for this for persons between 18 and 64. [2]

Since 1 January 2018, a person who has recently been granted a residence permit and is under the responsibility of the Public Employment Service has to take part in any education that the Public Employment Service assess as necessary for the person to be able to access the labour market. Should the person not take part in the designated education, they can be warned or lose their “introduction benefit”.

Refugees granted residence permits under the upper secondary education law can extend their residence if they find full-time jobs within six months. However, this was reported to be very difficult during COVID-19 and several organisations have expressed concern to the FRA about the insecurities in this regard.[3]

In 2022, the general unemployment rate decreased to 7,5%, compared to 8,8% in 2021.[4] However, when it comes to individuals born abroad, it is higher. In the first quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate was 20% for this group.[5] In May 2022, it was reported that slightly more than 50% of refugees aged 20 to 64 were gainfully employed ten years after having received a residence permit and reception in a local municipality.[6]

Obstacles to obtaining employment include lack of language skills, complicated process for validation of diplomas, lack of low-skill job opportunities and host society attitudes.

The Swedish Council for Higher Education evaluates foreign secondary education, post-secondary vocational education and academic higher education certificates.




[1] EUAA, Asylum Report 2022: Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union, June 2022, available at:, 171-172.

[2]Migration Agency, ‘Bosättning i en kommun’, 20 January 2017, available in Swedish at:

[3] FRA. Migration: Key Fundamental Rights Concerns, November 2020, available at:, 7.

[4] Govenrment Statistics Sweden, 28 February 2023, available in Swedish at:

[5] Government Statistics Sweden, 28 February 2023, available in Swedish at:

[6] SVT, ‘Mer än var tionde utrikesfödd person är arbetslös – gapet mellan grupperna ökar’, 23 May 2022, available in Swedish at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – I Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation