Integration in Sweden

Integration is about feeling a sense of belonging in the wider community where you live. This means that everyone should feel that they are a part of Swedish society. Integration involves different groups in society meeting and interacting with each other.

Sweden is a multicultural society. Everyone in Sweden should be able to take part in society on equal terms, regardless of their cultural, religious or ethnic background.
Photo: Colourbox

In Sweden, the Swedish Government is responsible for drawing up guidelines for Swedish integration policy. The Swedish Government wants everyone to be a part of the community, regardless of where they were born and what ethnic background they have. Therefore the Government provides extra support to newly arrived throughout their first years in Sweden. The purpose of this is to provide a good start to those who are new to Sweden and give them a good chance of living independently.

Establishment of newly arrived refugees

There are some specific rights that apply to those who are over the age of 20 (but under 65) and have a residence permit as a refugee, quota refugee, person in need of protection or are a close relative of one of these. You are then entitled to an introduction plan and introduction benefit. You are also entitled to assistance if you over 18 (but under 20) and do not have parents in Sweden. A recently arrived person is a refugee or immigrant who is new to Sweden.

Introduction plan

Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service) is one of several agencies that help recently arrived refugees and immigrants get started in their new community. If you are among those entitled to an establishment plan, you will meet with an establishment case worker from Arbetsförmedlingen to talk about what you need to do in order to start looking for work. Your establishment plan will consist of various activities to help you on your way to getting a job. What these activities are will depend on your needs, but they must include Swedish for Immigrants (SFI), employment preparations (e.g. traineeships or validation of your education and work experience) and a civic orientation course  intended to give you a fundamental understanding of Swedish society. The time you spend on these activities should be equivalent to a full-time job, which means 40 hours a week. Your establishment plan should typically extend over 24 months. If you are on part-time parental leave, this period may be extended by 8 months. More information is available from Arbetsfömedlingen: The aim of the establishment plan is for you to learn Swedish and find a job as quickly as possible so that you are able to support yourself.  

At Arbetsförmedlingen, you can get help to find a job of your own.
Photo: Colourbox

Introduction benefit

The introduction benefit is money you receive when you follow your introduction plan. If you have children you are eligible to receive additional money. In order to receive the full benefit you have to carry out the activities in your introduction plan full-time. If your introduction plan includes paid work as an activity, your introduction benefit will be reduced by an amount equivalent to your work earnings. However, if you have a job that is not part of your introduction plan, your introduction benefit will be unaffected. If you are entitled to an introduction benefit you are also eligible for a housing benefit if  you live alone in your own home. Under some circumstances, e.g. if you have children, you are also eligible for a supplementary benefit. If this is the case, it will be Försäkringskassan (the Swedish social insurance agency) and not Arbetsförmedlingen that decides whether you will get a supplementary benefit.

Leaving your country an moving to a new country

Leaving your country of origin and coming to a new country can be difficult and challenging. You may have experienced traumatic events and have lost your home, money, close friends and relatives in your homeland. Learning a new language, a new system and a new culture is challenging. It is common for the move to trigger a personal crisis. Some people start feeling bad when the receive a residence permit.

Professional support is available if you feel bad. Contact a primary care centre for more information. If you have an introduction plan, you can also speak to your introduction case officer at Arbetsförmedlingen in order to get more information about where you can get help.


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This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
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