The Integration of Immigrants in Sweden: A Model for the European Union?

A. Wiesbrock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


In an overall ranking by the Migration Policy Group of 2006 measuring immigrant integration policies in 28 countries, Sweden scored more points than any other country. This result is especially interesting given that Swedish integration policies differ considerably from integration policies applied in other EU countries. Whereas in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and France integration conditions have become increasingly restrictive in recent years, in Sweden the participation in integration courses is still voluntary and no integration requirements must be met for long-term residence or citizenship. Moreover, the Swedish integration programme is characterised by an increasing number of labour-market related integration measures. Yet, in contrast to the Migration Policy Group ranking, data collected from the OECD and Eurostat seem to indicate unfavourable integration outcomes in Sweden, at least in terms of labour market participation. The gap in employment rates between the native and foreign-born population in Sweden widened during the 1990s and has not narrowed significantly since then. This means that the outcome of Swedish integration policies is at least ambiguous, which makes the use of Sweden as a model for integration policies in other member states inconceivable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-66
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

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