Integration of the Employed: The sociocultural integration of highly educated migrants in Sweden

University essay from Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: In 2008, Sweden changed its labor migration legislation and allowed for labor migrants from non EU/EEA countries to migrate to Sweden, which had been heavily restricted since the 1970s. This shift in labor migration policy is mirrored in Swedish integration policy where the focus in recent years has been on labor market integration. This thesis aims to investigate the sociocultural integration of migrants who are employed and, in the Swedish context, assumed to be integrated. In addition, sociocultural integration is related to employment and length of stay. Sociocultural integration is measured by three indicators: knowledge of Swedish language, having Swedish friends, and membership in organizations. The data was collected through sixteen semi-structured interviews of highly educated migrants with employment in Sweden and analyzed using four integration theories.The study reveals that employed migrants are only partially socioculturally integrated. Respondents presented low levels of Swedish-language knowledge, which can be explained by their short stay in the country as well having international workplaces where mostly English is spoken. However, these workplaces also offer respondents opportunities to meet natives and most respondents met their Swedish friends through work. There is a need for further studies of integration, in particular those that would explore multiple dimensions of integration and incorporate migrants who are already economically integrated.

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