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Governance of Highly Skilled Refugees’ Labor Market Entry in Sweden

Authors: Micheline Van Riemsdijk*, Uppsala University
Topics: Migration, Europe, Population Geography
Keywords: refugees, migration, labor market, Sweden, governance
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Sweden received the largest number of asylum seekers per capita of any European country in 2015. As most of these individuals have now received (temporary) residence permits, the policy focus has shifted from arrival to their long-term stay. The labor market integration of refugees is a key focus of these initiatives, as Swedish government actors regard employment as an important aspect of social participation. This presentation examines the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees, defined as persons with refugee status who have completed a tertiary education or who have the equivalent in skills. It focuses on fast-track programs for highly skilled refugees that provide profession-specific language training, upskilling, internships and job coaching to assist highly skilled refugees with their entry into the labor market. The presentation examines the governance of these fast-track programs, in particular national and local governance structures, (tensions in) collaborations between public and private actors, and the agency of highly skilled refugees in the shaping of these initiatives. The research brings together literatures on the governance of refugee integration, public-private partnerships and national-local governance structures. Thus, the presentation aims to identify the actors and power relations inherent in the governance of fast-track programs, and the ways in which they shape the labor market access for highly skilled refugees in Sweden.

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