Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 10/06/22


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When a person is granted a residence permit, he or she is entitled to an “Introduction Plan” to plan his or her 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. [1]

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, he or she 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.[2]

In 2021, the general unemployment rate was 8.8%, up from 8.3% 2020.[3] However, when it comes to newly arrived persons with residence permits, it is higher. It has previously taken up to ten years before half of the new arrivals could establish themselves in the labour market. According to figures from early 2018 this is going much faster. Nearly half, 48.5%, of those who were granted residence permits in 2011 had jobs after five years. Among newly arrived men, 49.3% were in work after three years.[4]

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

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

[3] SCB, Arbetslöshet i Sverige, available at:

[4] Government, ‘Nyanländas etablering går snabbare’, 31 January 2018, 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