Friday, 22 February 2013

Swedish employment office to open in Ethiopia

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) plans to open an office in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in an effort to prepare emigrating Somalis for life in Sweden.The purpose of the pilot project is to assist Somalis who have received a Swedish residence permit on family reunification grounds but who have not yet arrived in Sweden.

In 2012, a Swedish Migration Court decision opened the door for many Somalis to join family members who have permission to stay in Sweden. The Swedish embassy in Addis Ababa processes these applications.

By mapping out the residency applicants' professional and educational backgrounds, the Public Employment Service hopes to find suitable places in Sweden where they can apply for work.

"If we can help prepare them we believe we can win time, quite simply, when it comes to their establishment in Sweden," Mattias Wahlsten, operations coordinator at the Public Employment Service, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Participants in the project will not receive any financial compensation and the time spent in the preparation training will not be deducted from the total two-year establishment period which awaits them in Sweden.

There is no start date for the new initiative but Wahlsten said the Public Employment Service hopes to get going as soon as possible.

In May 2012 the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) estimated that around 23,000 Somalis with relatives in Sweden would apply to join them under the new rules.

But figures released this month showed that few have taken up the offer. So far, only about 12,000 Somalis have applied, and while a third of the applicants have been given permission to stay, only 1,000 have actually come to Sweden.

TT/The Local


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