Sweden is pushing local governments to create temporary work placements for migrants as the country attempts to integrate a dramatic influx of refugees, an official said Sunday.
‘We have seen many good initiatives in the private sector, where private-sector companies have a major responsibility for facilitating the establishment of new arrivals. Here it is of course important that the public sector takes responsibility,’ says Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi told state-run Swedish Radio.
One important source for work could be temporary internships within the Sweden's higher education system, according to Shekarabi.
‘There is a great interest among the nation's colleges and universities to offer academic internships,’ he pointed out.
Local governments are also being asked to provide at least 1,000 internships per year for new arrivals until 2018.
The integration of immigrants has become a major issue after Sweden took in about 160,000 migrants in 2015 -- more as a percentage of its population than any other European Union (EU) country.
The many obstacles for newcomers include finding work and accommodation at a time of housing shortages, learning Swedish and coping with anti-immigration sentiment, with the far-right Sweden Democrats garnering up to 27 percent of voter sympathies in recent polls.
Half of all refugees in Sweden are unemployed after seven years and only 60 percent find work after 15 years, according to Statistics Sweden.
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