The introduction programme

Last updated: 6 10 2021

About Sweden – an orientation about Swedish society.

This text is about the introduction programme. The introduction programme provides support in the form of activities and training for some recently arrived immigrants.

The text describes who can participate in the introduction programme and what activities are included.

  • The right to work

    Everyone is entitled to a job. This amounts to a right not to be excluded from the labour market. Where you are from, what gender you are or how old you are should not affect your chances of getting a job.

    There are several rights that are linked to work. You are entitled, for example, to fair working conditions, to equal pay for equal work and to join a trade union. You are also entitled to rest and time off work.

    It is also a right for parents to be able to combine family life with work. Children are entitled to protection from work that is harmful or hinders a child’s development and schooling.

Introduction programme from Arbetsförmedlingen

There is a special form of support from Arbetsförmedlingen for people who have recently been granted a residence permit. This is known as the introduction programme (etableringsprogrammet). The goal of the introduction programme is for you to learn Swedish, find a job and begin earning your own money as quickly as possible.

  • Questions to think about

    What does it mean to become established (the programme’s name in Swedish means “establishment programme”)?

    What do you need in order to feel established in the society where you live?

In order to participate in the programme you need to:

  • Be between 20 and 64 years old.
  • Have been granted a residence permit as a refugee or a quota refugee, be in need of protection, or be a close relative of someone who is any of these.

Arbetsförmedlingen has produced short films that explain what the introduction programme is.

What does the introduction programme include?

What activities are included in your programme plan depends on your needs. You plan your activities together with Arbetsförmedlingen based on your previous experience and your interests.

However, the following activities are always included:

  • Swedish for Immigrants, SFI.
  • Introduction to Swedish society. This is a course that gives you fundamental knowledge about Swedish society.
  • Preparation for getting a job. This can include traineeships, for example. You can also get help to have your professional skills and training assessed, which is known as validation.

When are the activities in the introduction programme done?

The activities in your programme plan are done during 40 hours each week. In most cases you will take part in the introduction programme for 24 months.

In some cases you may participate in the introduction programme for fewer hours per week or for fewer months in total. This might be if you:

  • Get a part-time job during the period you are participating in the introduction programme.
  • Are on parental leave for a few days every week.
  • Have a functional impairment.
  • Are ill and cannot participate for 40 hours a week.

If you go on full-time parental leave during the period you are participating in the introduction programme, you have the opportunity to continue the programme when your parental leave is over.

Introduction benefit

You are entitled to receive money if you follow the plan in the introduction programme. This money is known as an introduction benefit. 

You may also be entitled to various supplements:

  • If you have children you may be entitled to a supplementary introduction benefit.
  • If you live alone you may be entitled to a supplementary housing benefit.

Försäkringskassan is the authority that determines if you are entitled to benefits, and also calculates how much you are entitled to.

Reporting activities

When you are participating in the introduction programme, you have to submit an activity report every month. This is important in order for you to get the right support on your way to a job or training and in order for you to receive your compensation from Försäkringskassan.

Compulsory education

If you do not have an upper secondary education and Arbetsförmedlingen’s assessment is that this means you cannot get a job, you have to attend an upper secondary education programme. This is known as compulsory education.

Civic orientation

Civic orientation courses are free of charge and are offered to people who have recently been granted a residence permit in Sweden, in order for them to learn about Swedish society.

You can do the course in your native language, in easy-to-understand Swedish, or in some other language that you know. The course is organised by the municipality where you live and has a duration of at least 100 hours.

The course includes sections on:

  • Human rights
  • Fundamental democratic values
  • Rights and obligations
  • How Swedish society is organised
  • Practical everyday life

Who can attend a civic orientation course?

You can attend the social orientation course if:

  • you were recently granted a residence permit
  • you are participating in the introduction programme from Arbetsförmedlingen
  • a member of your family has recently been granted a residence permit or is participating in the introduction programme.

Why should you do a civic orientation course?

To learn about your rights and obligations, about Swedish democracy and about how Swedish society is organised. The course is also about practical everyday life, including issues to do with work and education, housing, health and medical care, and children and families.

The purpose of civic orientation is to make it easier for you to get into Swedish society.

You will receive a certificate when you have completed the course.

How do you register to attend a civic orientation course?

If you have recently been granted a residence permit and are registered on an introduction programme from Arbetsförmedlingen, you can speak to your case worker at Arbetsförmedlingen about registering on a course.

If you are in contact with the social services, your case worker there can register you on a course.

Contact the municipality where you live if you want to know more about how civic orientation courses work.