The research project Learnings from Integration has focused on how to ensure that more immigrants arriving in Sweden become part of the labor market and how the education system can contribute to them getting established in Sweden.

This project was launched in 2017 and ended in June 2021. An important point of departure was that it takes a long time for immigrants, in particular refugees, to get established in the Swedish labor market. For decades, the number of refugees immigrating to Sweden has been higher compared to many other countries in the West. Many of the adult immigrants recently arriving in Sweden exhibit a low level of education and only a small number of newly arrived students complete their secondary education.

For this project, SNS recruited 17 renowned researchers in the fields of economics, business administration, sociology and demography as well as a broadly composed reference group. The result has been ten reports and 20 seminars and workshops. Summaries of the reports in English are available further below on this website.


Research Director: Gabriella Chirico Willstedt,
Project Manager: Emelie Lekebjer,, +46 737-53 32 07

funding and reference group

A2B Sverige, AcadeMedia AB, Axfood, Axfoundation, City of Stockholm Education Administration, Competence Agencies of Sweden, County Administrative Board of Stockholm, Intendia Group, Municipality of Södertälje, Samhall, Scania CV AB, Skanska AB, Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, Swedish Ministry of Finance, Swedish Public Employment Service, Swedish Red Cross and Unionen

Four lessons from the project

  1. Integration spans several policy areas.
  2. Education is crucial and early interventions have proven to play an important role.
  3. A combination of measures is needed to improve labor market integration.
  4. Internships and subsidized employment increase the probability of getting a job. However, women participate in these types of activities to a lesser extent than men.

Ten reports focusing on labor market and education


Promoting integration through childcare: Lessons from Norway

Drange | Children with an immigrant background who received an offer of free childcare performed better during their early years in school. The results were especially strong for girls. Read more

The performance gap between native and foreign-born pupils

Grönqvist & Niknami | Foreign-born students do not perform as well in school as native students. In Sweden, the observed differences between these two groups have increased in the past three decades. This effect is the most pronounced for students arriving in Sweden above the age of 7. The observed differences decrease when controlling for socioeconomic status. Read more

Assessment of foreign education: The effects on employment and wages

Tibajev | Recognition statements of the foreign education of newly arrived immigrants lead to higher employment and wages. However, this does not result in jobs corresponding to their level of education, and the effect is generally lower for immigrants arriving from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Read more

Inclusion in the labor market

Low-skilled jobs and language proficiency

Ek, Hammarstedt & Skedinger | Employers do not value previous work experience and having completed Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) when refugees apply for jobs with low skill requirements. The report also shows that low-skilled jobs serve as a point of entry into the Swedish labor market for immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Read more

Women with refugee background in tax-subsidized companies

Rickne | Swedish companies offering household services for which a tax deduction can be received employ many foreign-born women. However, relatively few of these have a refugee background. Read more

Pathways to work for refugees and family migrants

Andersson Joona | This report offers new insights into how the relatively large groups of refugees and family migrants are doing: which activities they participate in during their time in the establishment program, what happens after the establishment program, when they enter the labor market and in which sectors they get their first job. Read more

Organizing integration in the labor and housing markets

Holmqvist, Omonović & Urban | The authors conclude that there needs to be better coordination between the government’s labor market policies and the fact that municipalities are responsible for housing newly arrived immigrants. Read more

Ethnic segregation and self-employment

Andersson | This report examines the effect of ethnic residential segregation on self-employment in Sweden. Refugees who were placed in municipalities with more coethnics were not more likely to enter self-employment. This conclusion holds irrespective of whether the frequency of coethnics is measured using an absolute number or the share of coethnics living in the municipality of arrival. Read more

Parental leave – opportunity or obstacle for integration?

Duvander & Mussino | The utilization of parental benefits by women having recently immigrated to Sweden does not seem to constitute a key explanation for their lower chances of gaining employment during their first few years in the country. Read more

Integration and temporary refugee protection

Kilström & Olme | A Danish reform led to significantly increasing enrolment in formal education, especially for women and low-skilled individuals. In terms of employment and earnings, the coefficients were generally negative but insignificant. Read more

Seminars and workshops

The seminars were held in Swedish

June 18, 2021, Learnings on integration
April 29, 2021, Assessment of Foreign Education: The Effects on Employment and Wages
March 16, 2021, Parental leave – opportunity or obstacle for integration?
October 22, 2020, Organizing Integration in the Labor and Housing Markets
October 6, 2020, Low-skilled jobs, language proficiency and labor market integration
April 22, 2020, Labor market integration of refugees and family migrants
March 6, 2020, The performance gap between native and foreign-born pupils
June 25, 2019, The RUT deduction and employment among women with refugee background
May 27, 2019, Foreign born women’s labor market integration – lessons learned from the Nordic countries
May 2, 2019, Employment requirements in public procurement
February 4, 2019, Integration and temporary refugee protection
January 30, 2019, Employment opportunities for newly-arrived immigrants through YA-jobs
January 21, 2019, Workshop on recruitment of newly-arrived immigrants
December 14, 2018, Segregation and refugee self-employment
December 13, 2018, Validation of professional skills – a key to integration
September 27, 2018, Integrating refugee immigrants on the Swedish labor market over time
September 20, 2018, Effective efforts to employ newly arrived immigrants
June 1, 2018, Promoting integration through child care
May 3, 2018, What can be done to increase the mental health of newly arrived immigrants?
April 16, 2018, Presentation of the government’s report on Sweden’s immigrant reception system
March 23, 2018, Entrepreneurship among foreign born citizens
November 21, 2017, How to increase employment among refugees? Experiences from the Nordic countries