Country information sheets

Country Information Sheet Sweden

Ministry with overall responsibility

Integration policies in Sweden are transsectorial. This means that the objectives of integration policies are to be realised through initiatives and measures within several policy areas and by many different Government ministries and agencies.

The Arbetsmarknadsdepartementet (Ministry of Employment) has a coordinating responsibility for the Government’s policies for integration.

The Ministry of Employment also has its own responsibility for certain policy areas of importance for integration, namely the introduction of newly arrived migrants, compensation to municipalities for the reception of refugees, Swedish nationality and urban development issues. In addition, preventing and combating discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, religion or other belief and measures against xenophobia and racism are also included.

The goal of the integration policy is to ensure equal rights, obligations and opportunities for all, irrespective of their ethnic and cultural background. 

Other Ministries involved

Policy papers or programmes

In September 2008, the Swedish Government presented a comprehensive strategy for integration entitled “Empowerment against exclusion – the Government’s strategy for integration" (Egenmakt mot utanförskap – regeringens strategi för integration).
[D Swedish]

The overall focus of the strategy is to increase the supply and demand of labour and to create quality and equality in schools. The objectives of integration policy should primarily be achieved through measures within general policies for the whole population, regardless of country of birth or ethnic background. These measures should, when necessary, be complemented by targeted measures to support and facilitate the introduction of newcomers during their first years in Sweden. The strategy identifies the following seven areas of special importance:

- Faster introduction for new arrivals
- More in employment, more entrepreneurs
- Better results and greater equality in schools
- Better language skills and more adult education opportunities
- Effective anti-discrimination measures
- Common basic values in a society characterised by increasing diversity
- Development of urban areas with widespread exclusion.

  • Fact Sheet on Swedish Integration Policy
    [D English]

Key legislation

A reform to speed up the introduction of newly arrived immigrants into working and social life entered into force on 1 December 2010. A quicker introduction will be made possible by strengthening the personal incentives to both take up work and take an active part in employment preparatory activities for becoming job-ready. A clearer and more distinct division of responsibilities between different stakeholders will create an effective introduction chain. Individual introduction plans will be drawn up to make better use of the skills of newly arrived immigrants.

Summary of the reform:
- The Arbetsförmedlingen (Swedish Public Employment Service) will have a co-ordinating responsibility for introduction activities.
- The Swedish Public Employment Service and the newly arrived immigrant will together draw up an introduction plan including activities to facilitate and speed up the latter's introduction into working and community life.
- A new benefit payment will be introduced that is the same for all newly arrived immigrants regardless of where in the country they live, to be paid in connection with active participation in introduction activities.
- A new service provider - an 'introduction guide' - is to assist the newly arrived immigrant during the introduction period.
- Newly arrived immigrants who have an introduction plan are required to participate in civic orientation.
  • Nyanlända invandrares arbetsmarknadsetablering – egenansvar med professionellt stöd (New policy for the introduction of newly arrived immigrants)
    [D Swedish]
  • Fact Sheet on Government reform to speed up the introduction of new arrivals in Sweden
    [D English]

Legislation against discrimination

A new Act on Discrimination ("Ett starkare skydd mot diskriminering") came into force in January 2009. This Act replaced the Equal Opportunities Act (which prohibits gender discrimination in the labour market) and six other civil acts against discrimination.
[D Swedish]

The protection against discrimination will in principle be the same for the different grounds of discrimination. In addition, two new grounds of discrimination are introduced: age and sexual orientation.

The new Act also contains provisions for merging the previous four Ombudsmen into a single national authority: the Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (Equality Ombudsman).
[L Swedish] / [L English]

Funding opportunities

As integration policies are mostly mainstreamed, there is no specific “integration budget”.

A number of NGOs receive funding for activities against racism and discrimination from the Government agency Ungdomsstyrelsen (Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs)
[L Swedish] / [L English]

There are also some funding opportunities available to NGOs from:
- Allmänna arvsfonden (Swedish Inheritance Fund)
[L Swedish] / [L English]
- The European Integration Fund, managed by the Svenska ESF-rådet (Swedish ESF Council)
[L Swedish] / [L English]

Municipalities can also apply for so called §37 funding from the County Administrative Board. The funding is targeted to stimulate regional partnership and cooperation between different stakeholders and to build regional capacity for the reception of newly arrived migrants. [L Swedish]

Impact assessments, reports and evaluations

There has been no comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of integration policies. However, several aspects of integration have been monitored and analysed over the years. The analysis shows, in short, that the results of integration policies have been only limited. It has been suggested that policy goal-attainment could be considerably improved by higher coordination, increasing consensus and more concrete policies. The new strategy paper mentioned above takes these concerns into consideration.

Since 2009, Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) has been responsible for presenting register data to monitor integration developments at national and local level. Variables in the fields of employment, demography, income, housing, education, health, voting and elected are being used. Results are presented at national, regional and municipal level, as well as at city district level in those 38 city districts that are subject to local development agreements between the Government and 21 municipalities. [L Multilingual]

The Swedish Agency for Public Management has published an evaluation of the reform on faster introduction of newly arrived migrants that entered into force in December 2010. They conclude that expectations on the reform have only been met in half and that involved authorities need to strengthen coordination of their activities. [D Swedish]


Research and statistical agencies

There are no research agencies on integration within or under supervision of the government. Research on different issues of relevance for integration is carried out independently in a number of universities.

  • Statistiska centralbyrån (SCB) / Statistics Sweden
    [L Swedish] / [L English]
  • IFAU – Institutet för arbetsmarknadspolitisk utvärdering / Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation
    [L Swedish] / [L English]
  • Stockholms universitets Linnécentrum för integrationsstudier (SULCIS) / Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies (SULCIS)
    [L Swedish] / [L English]
  • Institutet för framtidsstudier / Institute for Futures Studies [L English]

Agencies implementing integration programmes

Key stakeholders

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Making integration work

The successful integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the Member States of the European Union is vital to strengthening freedom, security and justice in Europe.

The European Web Site on Integration provides you with a collection of good practices and a wide variety of tools and useful information to make integration work.


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