Social integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden

Scientific report September 2023

Updates about the research project (including publications) 

The social integration of refugees is an important agenda item in Europe, including Sweden. The recent refugee “crisis” has renewed attention to the need for effective integration initiatives that help create an inclusive, cohesive and prosperous society. Employment is a key factor in the integration process, enabling refugees to participate in the host country’s cultural and social life.

This project, funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, (Forte 2019-01220), focuses on highly skilled refugees who possess skills that are in high demand but who face considerable obstacles in finding employment commensurate with their education and skills. The project studies refugees who participate in “fast-track” programs that provide upskilling and work experience. The purpose of the project is to examine the social integration of highly skilled refugees in the workplace, studying the multi-way process of adaptation of refugees and actors in the host society. It focuses on the experiences of highly skilled refugees, educators, employers and other actors, and the national and local-level policies and initiatives that govern the integration process.

These issues will be investigated using interviews, observations, job shadowing, and critical discourse analysis. Theoretically, the project adds a refugee perspective to literatures on highly skilled migration and diversity management, and brings a skills lens to scholarship on social integration. The research will produce evidence-based recommendations for creating conditions for sustainable labor force participation, and how to increase the inclusion of under-represented groups in the labor market. The findings will be relevant for employers and policymakers concerned with workplace equality, diversity and inclusion. Read more about the project here

Researchers: Micheline van Riemsdijk (project leader); Ioanna Blasko (PhD student)

Last modified: 2023-10-02