EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Working and employment conditions of migrant workers – Sweden

About

Country: 
Sweden
Author: 
Jenny Lundberg
Institution: 
Oxford Research

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The Swedish contribution to the comparative analytical report on migrant workers shows that migrant workers in Sweden are over represented among atypical work contracts and low-paid jobs. When compared with native Swedes, migrant workers more often have temporary employments, have fewer possibilities to find work that matches their level of formal education and have higher unemployment and lower salaries. Especially foreign-born from Asia and Africa are over-represented in the unemployment statistics and low-status occupations, however, Asians are also over-represented among self-employed. On a positive note there are no considerable differences in working time or sick leave between migrant workers and native Swedes. Also, there are some indications that foreign-born employees tend to express stress and psychological pressure as being less of a problem than native employees, though exposure to strenuous working postures is reported as a greater problem.

This Report intends to investigate the employment and working conditions of migrant workers, that is of persons who migrate from one country to another for any reasons and work as employees or self-employed in the country of destination. Clearly, migrants workers include both EU citizens and non-EU citizens moving from their country of origin to one of the countries covered by this study. In other words, you should consider both migration across EU member states, Bulgaria, Romania and Norway and (im)migration from outside this area. The general objective is to compare the employment and working conditions of non-nationals and nationals

Please stick as much as possible to the definition above. However, if this definition does not reflect an interest or the debate on migrants’ working conditions in your country, consider whether using a narrower (eg only non-EU citizens) or broader definition (eg also migrants who acquired your country’s nationality and “second generations”) would provide insights on the employment and working conditions of migrants workers or on the closely related issue of workplace discriminations based on ethnicity. In the latter case, you should report data and information on these narrower or broader groups, stating clearly the definition of migrants you are using and providing indications on how the employment and working conditions of such groups can approximate those of migrants workers as defined above.

This study aims to analyse quality of work and employment of migrants in the European Union, Bulgaria, Romania and Norway. In particular, it will cover:

  • The distribution of migrant workers, by gender, across sectors and occupations, with a view to identify possible concentrations and their reasons, such as skill shortages filled by migrants (like in healthcare), or difficulties in filling positions in some jobs with lower skilled roles.

  • The contractual relations of migrants

  • An assessment of working conditions of migrants.

  • Entry job positions, training and career opportunities.

Answers to this questionnaires should refer to data sources other than those already integrated in Eurostat data sets. Of course, this information will be included in the final report, but the authors will access these data sets directly, with a view to concentrate your efforts on less accessible sources. In practice, you should not refer to Population and Labour Force statistics provided by your national statistical service, as long as they are already included in the Eurostat data sets. This means that questions 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4 should be answered only if sources other that those already integrated in the Eurostat data sets are available and significant.

Before responding to this questionnaire, you may want to check at the following Eurostat web pages the presence and scope of your country’s data which are already available:

Population and social conditions, under:

  • Population and International migration and asylum;

  • Labour market.

General and regional statistics, under:

  • Regions and Migration statistics.

As a consequence, your answers should refer to any specific research or studies carried out by public or private bodies, selecting the most authoritative and relevant ones in terms of significance and/or coverage. Please, consider both quantitative and qualitative studies in order to cover the different issues addressed by the questionnaire. Qualitative data may replace or complement quantitative data. You will list such sources in Section 1. We are looking for national information on migrants’ working conditions based on validated sources. You will provide this information under Section 2. Please, keep into account that the questionnaire is quite open and leaves ample space for specific national input, with a view to provide a picture as complete as possible of the employment and working conditions of migrants workers and of the national debates on such issue in the countries covered by the present study. Section 3 gives room to illustrate national contexts and provide further information and comments on sources and on the presence/lack of data.

Of course, any information or analyses carried out by national statistical offices on Population or Labour Force data-sets which integrate or complement standard data should be covered (for instance, ad-hoc analyses on the labour market conditions of migrants workers recently released by a national statistical office should be included).

Please provide clear and complete references of data sources.

1. Sources of information on migrant workers

  1. Are there studies or analyses in your country which cover the employment and working conditions of migrant workers?If so, please specify for each of these sources:

  2. The type: 1) specific chapters in general working conditions’ surveys; 2) ad-hoc surveys on migrants’ working conditions; 3) case studies - ie studies of specific situations, such as on certain nationalities, local areas and the like - on migrants’ working conditions, 4) other relevant reports on migrants’ working conditions which have been regularly or recently published.

  3. the authors of such studies or analyses (national statistical office - only if distinct from regular surveys which are included in Eurostat data sets, like Labour Force Surveys -, labour inspectorates, bodies responsible for health and safety at the workplace, social security bodies, other public bodies, employers, trade unions and NGOs, universities or research institutes);

  4. the definition of migrant worker they use. Are migrant workers who acquired citizenship or “second generations” included in such definition?;

  5. at which level these studies are carried out (national, sector, regional, other); and

  6. present briefly the methodology and structure of such studies or analyses, including the scope and focus of the questions on migrant workers.

  7. If available, please provide links to relevant websites.

Sources of information on migrant workers
Sources presented in this table are sources used to provide answers to this questionnaire
Author/body responsible Source Type Level Methodology Definition of migrant workers
Statistic Sweden Labour Force Survey, August 2006 A general working-condition survey. National Quantitative comparisons of foreign-born and native employees. Survey of the Swedish labour force, where some parts shows the difference between foreign-born and native employees. *Foreign-born employees
The Swedish Integration Board Statistikrapport 2004 (Statistical Rapport 2004). 2004 A general report about integration in Sweden. National Quantitative data analysed by the analyse department at the Swedish Integration Board. Statistics on integration of immigrants is presented, where one chapter covers the Swedish labour market. Both foreign-born and people with foreign background (but who are born in Sweden).
The Swedish Integration Board Fickfakta – Statistik om integration (Pocket facts – Statistics on Integration). 2006 (a) A general report about integration in Sweden. National Quantitative comparisons of foreign-born and native employees. The report provides an overview of integration of migrants in Sweden, where one part is dedicated the labour market. Both foreign-born and people with foreign background (but who are born in Sweden).
The Swedish Integration Board Rapport Integration 2005, 2006 (b) A general report about integration in Sweden. National The report is based on statistics collected by the Swedish Integration Board, research and evaluations by independent researchers. Both foreign-born and people with foreign background (but who are born in Sweden).
The Swedish Government Det blågula glashuset – strukturell diskriminering i Sverige (The blue and yellow glas house – structural discrimination in Sweden), Official Government Report SOU 2005:56, 2005 A general report about discrimination in Sweden. National Presents and compare results from different studies about migrant workers on the labour market, mainly statistical studies. A review of different research that has been conducted regarding the ethnical segregation in the Swedish labour market. Dependent on which study it present results from. Studies among foreign-born as well as second generation immigrants are presented.
National Institute for Working Life En arbetslöshetsförsäkring för alla sysselsatta? (Unemployment insurance for all employees?) Andersson, P. and Wadensjö, E. Issue 9, nr 3–4, fall/winter 2003 Ad-hoc survey on migrants working conditions. National Data from Statistic Sweden and RAMS (the Register based Labour Market Statistics), are analysed and additional data has been collected by the authors themselves. The focuses are on self-employed and workers employed by interim agencies, and if there are any common characteristics of these workers. A main finding is that foreign-born are slightly over-represented among both self-employed and workers for interim agencies. Foreign-born and second-generation immigrants.
National Institute for Working Life Vem passar in på vårt jobb? Rekrytering och kompetens för ett mångfaldigt arbetsliv. (Who is suitable for our job? Recruitment and competence for a multitude working life.), 2006 (a) Ad-hoc survey on migrants working conditions. National Mainly qualitative data, collected through interviews, which has been supplemented with some statistics. One focus of the rapport is on foreign-born people, and whether they get jobs that matches their competences. Foreign-born workers
National Institute for Working Life Flyktingars jobbchanser Vad betyder lokala erfarenheter av tidigare arbetskraftsinvandring? (Refuges job possibilities What impact do local experiences from earlier workload migration have?) Bevelander, P. & Lundh, C., 2006 (b). Ad-hoc survey on migrants working conditions. National The study is based on personal data from Statistic Sweden, 2003. The study focuses on whether the labour immigration, to some Swedish municipalities, during the 50th and 60th still has an impact on refuges possibilities of getting a job today All immigrants from refuge countries.
National Institute for Working Life Deltidsarbete och deltidsarbetslöshet bland städare i Stockholms län. (Part-time work and par-time unemployment among cleaners in Stockholm County.) Abbasian, S., 2006 (c). Ad-hoc survey on migrants working conditions. Regional A review of the profession, within Stockholm County. The study uses both quantitative and qualitative data. The study brings the overrepresentation of immigrants among cleaners in Stockholm into the discussion of part-time work and part-time unemployment. Foreign-born workers

*Immigrants are commonly referred to as foreign-born since immigrants sometimes are incorrectly associated to second-generation immigrants as well.

2. Information on migrant workers

Please present the results of the above mentioned studies and analyses. The questions below provide indications on the aspects we would like you to cover in your answers, if relevant and significant information are available. If the variables used in your sources do not match precisely the ones indicated below, use those available, providing a brief description if needed.

Questions 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4 should be answered only if sources other that those already integrated in the Eurostat data sets are available and significant (see the introductory section for the Eurostat web pages which should be consulted).

In each case, state clearly the source and, if available, provide relevant links.

Moreover, indicate whether data include illegal migration and, whenever possible, distinguish between legal and illegal migrants.

2.1 Migrant population (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

  1. Total number (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

  2. As a percentage of total population (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

2.2 Illegal immigration (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

1. Please provide all data/estimates available concerning:

  1. Total number.

  2. Nationality.

  3. Distribution by sectors.

  4. Distribution by occupations.

  5. Please briefly illustrate the methodology used to collect/generate such data/estimates.

2.3 Migrant active population (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

  1. Total number (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

  2. As a percentage of active population (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

  3. Employed (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

  4. As a percentage of total employment (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

  5. Specific rates of: participation, employment, unemployment (by gender, age, nationality, education level).

According to Rapport Integration 2005, in 2005, approximately 64% of all foreign-born in the age between 16 and 65 were employed, compared to about 81% of natives. When studying unemployment rates over time, non-nationals seem to be more sensitive to business cycles than nationals. Differences among non-nationals exist as well, for example, the longer they have lived in Sweden (10 years or longer) the less sensitive to business cycles. Further, non-nationals from Africa and Asia are over represented among the unemployed, which also is the case for women in general; however, among migrants from Africa, who have been in Sweden for 10 years or longer, the employment rate for women are significant higher than for men (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b).

  1. Do the abovementioned indicators vary significantly according with the nationality of migrant workers (for instance, a certain nationality is significantly more or less represented in active population or unemployment? If such variations exist, which are the reasons put forward to explain them?

Rapport Integration 2005 divides the reasons for the above-described differences into supply and demand. On the supply side the use of recruitment channels are implied one reason to differences in employment rates (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b). It has been suggested that as few as 34% of all job openings are notified to the national employment agency (SOU 2005:56). Rapport Integration 2005 indicates that nationals, to a greater extent than non-nationals, are recruited through informal channels (family and friends). 42% of the national respondents had gotten an employment through informal channels, compared to approximately 1/3 of the immigrants from countries outside of Europe (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b). On the demand side discrimination is a factor difficult to ignore. Different studies, conducted on the behalf of the Swedish Integration Board, have shown that:

  • Young second generation immigrants from outside of Europe more often than others are unemployed, even though they have the same level of education and average grades.

  • Non-nationals are more likely to loose their jobs than others who work in the same company, have worked there for the same amount of time, and have the same level of education, age and gender.

Research on whether lacking language skills is one reason for the over representation of foreign-born among the unemployed have been put forward in Sweden. Results have shown that unreasonably high language skills often are required, whereby discrimination sometimes is seen as a possible reason. This is further confirmed by the fact that the language requirements differ with the business cycle; when the business cycle is booming, higher level of Swedish is required (SOU 2005:56).

2.4 The distribution of migrant workers across sectors and occupations (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

  1. Are migrant workers over- or under-represented in specific sectors or occupations? If so, specify which sectors and occupations. Please distinguish whenever relevant or possible between men and women.

Industries/sectors that have a higher share of foreign-born than the Swedish population as a whole are for example the textile industry, the hotel and restaurant sector, and the personal service sector (laundry services, hairdressers etc.). This study does not provide any differences among genders, however women from Africa and Asia are said to over represent within the hotel and restaurant sector (Höglund, 2002, in SOU 2005:56).

There is a high concentration of migrant workers in some specific occupations within the service sector. One example is cleaning, which among migrants from non-European countries is one of the most common occupations. A study on cleaners in Stockholm County, (the National Institute for Working Life, 2006, c), shows that 66% of all cleaners (in 2002) are foreign-born, and more often than natives have a higher education.

Distribution of foreign-born and native men in different sectors (%)
Distribution of foreign-born and native men, 16-64 years, in different sectors (%) N=Natives, F=Foreign born
Year Sector
  Industry Construction Trade Hotel and restaurant Bank and insurance
  N F N F N F N F N F
2000 26.0 29.6 10.0 5.4 13.2 12.0 1.6 8.7 7.5 4.6
2001 25.0 26.6 10.4 4.9 13.0 12.0 1.6 8.0 7.5 5.3
2002 24.6 26.2 10.7 4.6 12.9 11.4 1.6 8.7 7.4 5.2
2003 23.9 25.8 10.9 4.7 13.7 13.9 1.6 9.2 7.3 4.8
2004 23.7 24.8 11.1 4.4 13.8 13.5 1.7 8.7 7.3 4.8
 
  Other private service Stat, education and research Health care Other    
  N F N F N F N F    
2000 8.9 10.2 11.0 8.8 4.3 6.3 17.3 14.4    
2001 9.6 12.2 11.4 9.7 4.4 6.2 17.2 15.1    
2002 9.4 10.2 11.8 11.0 4.6 7.6 17.1 15.1    
2003 9.1 10.0 12.2 10.9 4.6 8.0 16.7 12.7    
2004 9.0 11.7 11.8 10.2 4.6 7.6 17.0 14.2    

Source: the Swedish Integration Board, 2004

Distribution of foreign-born and native women in different sectors (%)
Distribution of foreign-born and native women, 16-64 years, in different sectors (%) N=Natives, F=Foreign born
Year Sector
  Industry Construction Trade Hotel and restaurant Bank and insurance
  N F N F N F N F N F
2000 9.4 14.7 0.9 0.4 11.8 10.7 3.0 5.5 5.0 2.6
2001 9.2 12.9 0.9 0.8 11.5 9.7 3.0 4.9 4.8 3.6
2002 8.8 11.6 1.0 0.8 11.2 9.4 2.7 4.4 5.0 3.3
2003 8.3 10.3 0.9 0.4 11.4 9.7 3.0 5.0 5.1 3.3
2004 8.5 9.9 1.0 0.2 11.5 9.7 3.0 5.7 4.8 3.2
 
  Other private service Stat, education and research Health care Other    
  N F N F N F N F    
2000 8.2 11.2 18.4 14.8 33.3 32.5 10.0 7.6    
2001 8.7 10.4 19.0 16.6 33.0 33.9 9.9 7.2    
2002 8.7 11.9 19.1 17.7 33.5 33.8 10.0 7.1    
2003 8.4 11.2 25.1 23.0 28.0 30.2 9.7 6.9    
2004 8.6 11.8 25.6 21.6 27.8 30.9 9.2 7.1    

Source: the Swedish Integration Board, 2004

  1. What are the possible reasons of such over- or under-representation? Are specific skill shortages filled by migrants? Are there specific policies devised to attract migrant workers in certain sectors or occupations? Please distinguish whenever relevant or possible between men and women.

There are no specific national policies to attract migrants to certain sectors.

According to foreign-born with a higher education, possible reasons for an under-representation of foreign-born in high-skilled occupations could be due to lack of contacts/networks and having a foreign name. A study among 6,500 foreign-born with a higher education, indicates that there is a strong belief that these factors influence their chances of finding a job that matches their education level. 80% of the respondents agreed that lack of contacts was a barrier in finding a job that could match their education level, and 60% of the male and 50% of the female respondents agreed to a non Swedish name being a barrier (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b).

Lack of Swedish cultural competence has been suggested as one reason why migrant workers are not hired for leading positions (the National Institute for Working Life, 2006, a). Lacking language skills is another proposed explanation for foreign-born workers difficulties of getting a high status job (SOU 2005:56).

  1. Does the presence in the different sectors or occupations vary significantly according with the nationality of the migrant workers (for instance, a certain nationality is significantly more or less represented in cleaning, health, or in managerial position or in elementary occupations? If such variations exist, which are the reasons put forward to explain them?

Please see answer to 2.4 a.

2.5 The contractual relations of migrants (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

  1. Extent of undeclared employment (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

Estimations on how undeclared employments are divided among non-nationals and nationals have not been possible to find. However, for the Swedish population as a whole it is estimated that 13% have performed an undeclared job ones or more during a five-year period, and that a majority of these are born within the Nordic countries. A relatively large loss of respondents born outside of Sweden was experienced. Because of this, the results can be biased (the National Tax Board of Sweden).

  1. Employment status: self-employed with employees, self-employed without employees, employee (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

The below table illustrate that there has been a trend of higher self-employment among foreign-born workers than among natives during recent years. In 2003, self-employment was slightly more common among foreign-born workers, as 12% foreign-born men and 5,4% foreign-born women were self-employed compared to 9,8% native men and 4,4% native women. Most foreign-born self-employed come from Asia, which, according to the rapport by Andersson E. & Wadensjö E., 2003, to a certain extent probably depends on the tradition among Asians to start their own businesses. It is more common among immigrants to be self-employed than it is among native Swedes. It has not been possible to find specific statistics regarding who is a self-employee out of free will, and who has chosen this working condition as a result of lacking alternatives. However, the high number of immigrants could depend on their difficulties of getting another type of employment in Sweden, whereas the non-standard self-employees might have a high representation within this group. This can to a certain extent be confirmed by the fact that immigrant self-employees have significant lower wages than Swedish. Also, Swedish self-employees have more often than immigrants another job beyond their own business (the National Institute for Working Life, 2003). This might indicate that Swedish self-employees, to a larger extent than immigrants, have the opportunity to get another type of employment, whereas being self-employed is rather a desire than a must within this group.

Self-employement among nationals and non-nationals
Share of self-employed among nationals and non-nationals in the age group 18-64
Year Native men Foreign men Native women Foreign women
2003 9.8 12.0 4.4 5.4
2002 9.9 11.8 4.5 5.4
2001 9.5 10.4 4.3 4.8
2000 9.6 10.3 4.5 4.9

Source: the Swedish Integration Board, 2004

Self-employement as a share of the total population
Share of self-employed (18-64 years) among the employed population in 2003
Origin of self-employed Men Women
Total 10.1 4.6
Native 9.8 4.4
Foreign-born 12.0 5.4
The Nordic countries (excl. Sweden) 9.5 4.7
EU (excl. the Nordic countries) 13.2 7.8
Europe (excl. EU and the Nordic countries) 8.2 4.9
North America 8.1 7.5
South America 4.9 2.5
Oceania 10.4 7.4
Africa 7.5 2.6
Asia 20.2 7.5

Source: the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, a

  1. Type of contract: open-ended, fixed-term, temporary agency work (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

Foreign-born are significantly over represented among employees with temporary contracts, in the age group 25-54, 17% of non-nationals have a temporary contract compared to 8% among natives. In the rapport Unemployment insurance for all employees? (2003), one suggested reason for this is the difficulty immigrants face when trying to enter into the labour market, whereby interim agencies are an alternative (the National Institute for Working Life, 2003). It is especially common among Africans and South Americans to work for interim agencies. Different types of temporary employments, such as project-based employments, have generally become more common, according to a study conducted by Jonsson & Wallette, 2001 (in SOU 2005:56). However, the same study considers these kinds of employments as a stepping-stone toward a full-time employment for native workers more often than for foreign-born workers.

  1. Duration of contracts in case of temporary employment (average) (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

No data

  1. Retention: employment with the same employer after 12 months (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

No data

  1. Working hours: full-time, part-time, (men, women). As a reference, please provide the same indicators for nationals.

In 2004, part-time work was almost as common among native women (41,3%) as it was among foreign-born women (39,6%). However, among men, foreign-born were more likely to have a part-time employment (15,8%) than natives (11,6%) (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b).

  1. Diffusion of “second jobs” (men, women) and the professional status in the further job(s) (men, women).

Having multiple jobs is a relatively rare phenomenon in Sweden. Only 5 percent had more than one employment in 2003. One explanation could be linked to the Swedish welfare system. People with permanent part time jobs have the opportunity to get compensation from the social security agency, whereby the incitements of having more than one job is smaller that it would be in countries with less generous welfare systems.

  1. Do the abovementioned dimensions vary significantly according with the nationality of the migrant workers (for instance, a certain nationality is significantly more or less represented in undeclared, work, self-employment, temporary employment and so on? If such variations exist, which are the reasons put forward to explain them?.

2.6 Working conditions of migrants (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

Please distinguish per nationality whenever relevant.

  1. Wage levels, compared with national workers;

In a review of average wages in Sweden indicated that foreign-born men have a lower average wage than natives; the difference is somewhat smaller among women. The wage difference decrease with the amount of time that foreign-born women have been living in Sweden increases. Among men the difference in average wage does not seem to depend on how many years the foreign-born have been in Sweden, as in the case with women. In addition, the country of origin generally seems to have an impact on the wage level, since migrants from industrial countries are more likely than migrants from the third world, to have about the same average wages as natives (Le Grand & Szulkin, 1999 in SOU 2005:56). A study among immigrants with a higher education (Martinsson, H. 1998 in SOU 2005:56) has further illustrated that regardless of educational level; both non-nationals and second-generation immigrants do not reach the same wage level as natives. Another finding concerning wages, is that among those who gets employed through formal recruitment channels, natives have a 14% higher wage than workers born outside of Europe, and when employed through informal channels, the difference is even higher, 25% (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b).

  1. incidence of low-paid jobs (that is, according to the OECD definition, jobs which pay less than two-third of the median wage), compared with national workers.

No data

  1. Working hours, compared with national workers:- average hours usually worked per week, including overtime;- average hours of overtime work per week;- diffusion of long working hours (more than 10 hours a day);- diffusion of work at unsocial hours (night, weekend);- diffusion of work on shifts;- for migrant workers having more than one job, average hours worked per week in such further jobs.

The below table indicates that the difference in working time among natives and foreign-born employees are relatively small.

No data that specify work at unsocial hours or work on shifts among migrants has been found.

Working hours per week
Working hours per week in the age group 16-64, October 2006
  Real working time Average absence time Average overtime Share of full-time workers
Natives 33.7 4.4 1.5 73.0
Foreign-born 32.6 4.7 1.2 72.5
Total population 33.6 4.5 1.4 72.9

Source: Statistics Sweden

  1. Exposure to risks and accidents at work:- work accident rates for migrant workers and, as a reference, for nationals;- sectors and occupations where risks of accidents for migrant workers are higher;- working conditions (vibration, noise, high/low temperatures etc.) in the three sectors where migrant workers are mostly present in your country.

The official report on occupational accidents and work-related diseases do not present data by nationality. However, results from a study (Rosenqvist Hedler, 2000, in SOU 2995:56) show that the amount of work-related accidents are about the same among both foreign-born and natives.

  1. Health outcomes, work-related health problems and occupational illnesses:- occupational illness rates for migrant workers and, as a reference, for nationals;- sectors and occupations where risks of work-related health problems for migrant workers are higher.

A study, conducted in 2000 (Rosenqvist Hedler), has illustrated foreign-born as being more exposed to strenuous working postures, than natives. According to the study, this can to a certain extent be a result of foreign-born employees having temporary contracts to a further extent than natives, since poorer company healthcare generally follow these employments. However, foreign-born employees experience stress and psychological pressure as less of a problem than native workers (SOU 2005:56).

Sick leave and sick days by county of origin (%)
Reported reasons for sick leave and number of sick days in 2002 by county of origin (%). Only absence for 15 days or more are presented.
  Sweden Other Nordic Countries Other Countries
Reported main diagnosis      
Trouble in movement organs 27 33 44
Mental problems 8 7 12
Burnt out 8 5 5
Stress 4 5 3
Other diagnoses 53 50 36
 
Number of sick days      
15-59 days 51 55 52
60-179 days 23 18 22
180 days or more 26 27 26

Source: the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, 2005

  1. Existence of information on risks, health and safety at the workplace in the national language of the migrants.If such information is present:i) what is the basis of this presence (law, collective bargaining, firm policy, other);ii) is it present in every sector or workplace? If no, please specify in which sectors and/or workplaces it is present;iii) are there any specific initiatives, including training, on health and safety at the workplace devised specifically for migrant workers? If yes, please specify the initiators and content of such initiatives and whether they are implemented using the language of the migrant workers.

  2. Individual disputes at the workplace which involve migrant workers and, as a reference, nationals.

No data

2.7 Level of education and occupational position: over-qualification and under-qualification (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

Please distinguish per nationality whenever relevant.

  1. The present job position of migrant workers appears to be adequate to their level of education? With reference to this aspect, what is the condition of nationals?

Different sources confirm that migrant workers more rarely than nationals have a job that is adequate to their level of education. Native workers are more likely to have a high status profession than others, whereas foreign-born employees are more likely to have a job with low qualification requirements, compared to natives with the same educational level and qualifications. The lowest share of academics with a qualified position is among workers born in Africa and Asia, regardless of how long they have been in Sweden (the Swedish Board of Integration, 2006, b). The National Employment Agency (2001) further reveal that also among immigrants with a Swedish educational background, fewer immigrants, born outside of Europe, than Swedes have a job that matches their education (64% compared to 85%) (SOU 2005:56).

2.8 Participation in training and possibilities for competence development (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

Please distinguish per nationality whenever relevant.

  1. What is the rate of participation to training during working time of migrant workers (average over the last 12 months) and, as a reference, of nationals?

  2. data

  3. Is the access to other possibilities of competence development (such as apprenticeship) of migrant workers equivalent to that of nationals?

Several studies in the SOU report have confirmed that foreign-born women to a lesser extent than native women have taken part of on-the-job training or any form for career developments. According the study conducted by Rosenqvist Hedler (2000), in general it is significantly less common for foreign-born workers to have participated in a course during work time than it is for natives (SOU 2005:56).

2.9 Career development (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

Please distinguish per nationality whenever relevant.

  1. Entry occupations and the pace of career development (compared with those of nationals).

  2. Do migrant workers have access to career advancements on an equal basis with nationals?

Results from a time series study, reaching over 11 years, conducted between 1990 and 2001 (the Swedish Integration Board, 2006, b), have shown that the access to career advancements are few in Sweden irrespective of nationality. More Swedes than foreign-born (from outside of Europe) had a high-status position (80% compared to 25%) at the time when the study begun. The ones with a high status employment did also posses the highest possibility of having these types of positions by the end of the study.

  1. Are there data/information on discrimination in careers between migrants and nationals? If yes, please provide a brief summary of the evidence.

2.10 Union representation and collective bargaining (including recent trends in the 2000-2005 period)

Please distinguish per nationality whenever relevant.

  1. Do migrant workers concentrate in non-union workplaces or in less-than-average unionised sectors? If yes, please provide some details.

The degree of unionisation is high in Sweden in general; approximately 80% of all workers are affiliated to a union. Hence there are no indications/studies that indicate that migrant workers are not as unionised as natives.

  1. Do migrant workers concentrate in workplaces or sectors where collective bargaining coverage is lower than average? If yes, please provide some details.

  2. Union membership and presence among trade union representatives of migrant workers.

The union with the most foreign-born members is LO (the Swedish Trade Union Confederation) with 14%, whereas TCO (the Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees) has 8% foreign-born members, and SACO (the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations) 9%. During the period between the 1st quarter of 2000 and the 1st quarter of 2004, the share of foreign-born members increased from 12 to 14 percent in LO. Furthermore, real estate and hotel and restaurant are unions within LO with the highest share of foreign-born members (36% and 34% respectively). The high amount of foreign-born in real estate is explained to be due to that there is a high share of cleaners in this sector (SOU 2005:56).

  1. Any other information on employment and working conditions of migrant workers which is relevant for your country. Please distinguish per nationality if relevant.

3. Commentary

There is no doubt that migrant workers in Sweden in many situations face different working conditions that those of natives. The difficulties migrant workers have to enter the labour market and thus become integrated in society certainly influence the conditions under which they work. Keeping in mind that migrant workers more often have temporary jobs than natives and that some are forced to becoming self-employed. Self-employment is by many seen as a way for immigrants to become integrated in society. But it is also important to be aware of that it can still put immigrants in a very vulnerable situation since they are still exposed to many risks for example related to economic challenges which forces them to work long hours.

In this contribution no attention has been given to posted workers, i.e. those who work in Sweden on a temporary basis. The working conditions of posed workers in the construction sector has gotten a lot of attention in Sweden, in particular through the Vaxholm-Lavel case. Though it is still on a rather small scale, it is becoming more common in the construction sector to hire staff through employment agencies in other countries and/or to use foreign subcontractors. Since these employers have restricted knowledge of the working conditions and risks that their workers will face, their possibilities are limited when it comes to preparing and training the workers.

Jenny Lundberg,