Perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time, or at least humanitarian. Sweden let 163,000 "refugees" into their once-idyllic country last year, and government officials assured wary citizens that they would aid the economy.
But a new report from the state-funded broadcaster says that just 494 — or 0.30306748466258% — have found jobs. Now that's a low number: You'd have to triple it just to get to 1%.
The number comes from the Swedish employment agency and the Swedish migration authority, Migrationsverket, Breitbart News says.
While in many countries asylum seekers are banned from formally working while their application is being processed, in Sweden there are exceptions. The “at-und” is an exemption granted by Migrationsverket which allows asylums seekers access to the labour market.
In an effort to explain the incredibly low number of migrants working, Lisa Bergstrand of Migrationsverket told SVT: "There was an incredible number of people applying for asylum in Sweden and so that we should be able to register them, we had to de-prioritise certain tasks, and that was the matter of jobs." Of the migrants who claimed asylum in 2015, approximately one third of the men and women aged 20-64 were given the exemption to allow them to work, which is around 53,790 migrants.
The figures of migrant unemployment follow a trend in Sweden of high unemployment for foreigners. The unemployment for those born in Sweden is at the lowest point since the 2008 financial crisis at around 4.8 per cent, while foreign born unemployment is at 14.9 per cent.
This means that there are fewer people in Sweden paying tax into the generous “Swedish model” welfare system. Some have said that the influx of foreigners who do not work will strain the welfare system to the point of collapse as foreigners are expected to make up 60 per cent of unemployed residents in Sweden by 2017.
But everything may soon be dandy. British rock star Sting has donated the one million kronar ($118,000) prize money he won from the Swedish music award to a project which helps young refugees integrate through music.
So, look for things to get better fast there.
And already, Sweden has been ranked the top place to live — for refugees. "A new ranking of the best countries to be an immigrant has placed Sweden in the top spot, closely followed by Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany. The United States, a country which was largely founded through mass immigration, came in seventh," The Washington Post reports.