Refugees fed by Sweden’s language and employment courses

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Refugees living in Sweden are apparently disatisfied by the country’s immigration system, claiming the required employment and language courses do not distinguish between their different educational and professional backgrounds. 

“It is unfair to be put into the same employment course and at the same stage as an illiterate person or a 61-year-old person, following 18 years of education and five years of work experience,” Jaza Rashid said, who was a medical doctor in the Kurdistan Region before immigrating to Sweden.

Rashid is upset with the country’s not differentiating between educated and illiterate people. “Unemployment is our commonality,” Jaza said.


Rashid, 31, is from southern Kurdistan. He reportedly had left Kurdistan in an effort to develop his career as a medical doctor. His dreams are about to end, he said.

“All my dreams are gone. Currently, I only pass time, getting a small amount of cash monthly. I spend time with a group of people with whom I have no common ground,” he added.
“I go to study the course at 9 each morning. We study something for an hour, which I don’t understand. Then, we will have a 30-minute break. Later, we go back to the class for an hour and a half. Believe me, I don’t know what we discuss there. They then say ‘we are done for today. Have a good day’,” he said of the course he is taking in Sweden.

Rashid also takes language classes.

“It is the same situation there. A person’s age and education are not taken into account. Believe me I learn nothing. This is what I do for 10 hours each day in Sweden,” he said.
Like other EU countries, new refugees are put into different courses without taking into consideration different past employment histories, degree levels or levels of education.
Most refugees think these mandatory courses are intended to keep them away from engaging in the black market and encourage them to make an effort in return for the money they receive each month.
Hemin Hayder, 33, is a new refugee in Sweden. He had previously worked with the United Nations. He speaks English well, also. He too is fed up of being put in the same course as people whose level is very different.

“There are people there (in the course) who were farmers in Congo. There is a young Arab national with me who doesn’t value anything other than dressing up. Further, there are several illiterate Somali women with me who had only done house work. The person sitting next to me was a shoe polisher in the past. I have a Bachelor’s degree and my friend was a medical doctor,” Hayder said.


“It is not logical for all of us to be put in the same course. There will never be common ground between us. Our background has no value to the Swedes,” he added.

“I understand how unpleasantly they feel. But integration starts from here,” Shaza Dilemei, a member of Common, and an expert in refugee affairs said.
Dilemi was also an immigrant in the past and has been living in Sweden for 28 years. He said about these courses: “Immigrants getting unemployment benefits will be put into these courses, which are part of the process of preparing them for work. These courses are regarded as work not studying.”
These courses were mainly introduced after the Moderate Party assumed power. They are intended to encourage unemployed people to look for work and remove them from the benefit system. This process will continue even after the leftist and social democrats are back to power.
“They should participate in these courses, including language courses, for eight hours per day to be able to get their monthly allowance,” Dilemi detailed. Even Swedes take these courses sometimes, he explained.
Most participants claim these courses are just a waste of time.
“I asked for a language course, and be allowed to dedicate these eight hours studying in order to improve my language skills to be able to work. But they turned down my request. They have obliged me to take this course. They will cut my salary if I refuse,” Nuha Fayli, a course participant, said. “It is a lot of pressure so we must work otherwise return to our home countries. How can I work if I don’t know the language?”
“I will have to consider returning to my home country if I am unable to get a job. I can’t accept this,” Fayli added.

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