The National Policy Frame for the Integration of Newcomers: The Swedish Case ↗️
Type of text: Rapport (other academic)
Published by: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) within the project Promoting Sustainable Policies for Integration (PROSINT)
Author: Birgitte Suter and Martin Qvist
Short description of text
The text is a case project report made within the project PROSINT, and it presents the case project report from Sweden. Other countries covered by the project (but not discussed in the report) are Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
The text starts with presenting a shortly the historical trajectories and tendencies of integration policy in Sweden. Firstly it uses statements and interviews from politicians and policy makers and policy documents to understand how historically migration policy and integration policy have been connected. In this section the report also discusses the main changes in integration policy framework in Sweden. The focus is mainly between the years 2000-2010. It is noted that the dominant dimension in the Swedish understanding of integration is employment, or broader spoken: self-sufficiency.
It is argued that migration and integration are treated as two separate fields in policy, but also in the media, in academic research and in the formation of public opinion. However in policy this distinction has become more blurred since 2006 due to the conservative coalition government advocating the linkage between migration and integration, the report argues. The report argues that the link between migration control and integration policy making is very new in Sweden; it was established only in 2010 with the enforcement of the maintenance demand on family reunification.
In the second section the report discusses pre-entry admission policy in Sweden established in 2010 that sets two pre-entry admission requirements: the new policy requires the family member already in Sweden – the sponsor – to fulfil two requirements one related to housing and another to income. The report argues that the most manifest rationale of this policy is improved integration and inclusion. The report also discusses the decision-making process that led to the implementation of the new policy.
The report also discusses post-arrival provisions provided for migrants – those admitted to stay in Sweden permanently, newly arrived refugees, persons on other protection statuses and their family members arriving within two years from the issuing of residence permit. The report notes that these groups have the right to benefit from an introduction programme that consists of: Swedish language course (Swedish for Immigrants – sfi), the second is civic education (samhällsinformation) and activities towards facilitating entry into the labour market; such as internships, information, validating qualifications.
The report then identifies target groups for integration measures. These are “The target group that falls under the responsibility of the Employment Services are the following: Newly arrived immigrants between the age of 20 and 65 whose ability to work is more than 25 percent and that received residence permit on one of the following grounds: refugee, subsidiary protection, and quota refugee, as well as family reunification to one of those persons arriving within two years”
Lastly it discusses the effect of European integration on Swedish migration-integration nexus.
Most important results
The report does now really present many findings. It is rather a summary of policies, and explains very shortly policies that have pre-entry admission requirements (the 2010 family reunification law) and what post-arrival provisions are provided for migrants (SFI, civic education and labour market activities).
The report presents uncritically the policies, but starts with agreeing with the political discourse that integration policy in Sweden has ‘failed’ and that integration measures as discussed in the report are put in place to ‘fix’ it.
The material consists of interviews with politicians and employees in ministries in Sweden to understand how integration has been understood in Swedish political discourse. It also uses legal documents, policy documents and the like.