Sweden is one of the countries in the European Union that has the fastest population growth. This can be partly explained by the extensive immigration to Sweden. The state of knowledge about the immigrant population's labour market establishment in Sweden today is relatively good. On the other hand, we know much less about the effects of immigration on the position of the native-born population in the labour market. The analysis is based on Swedish register data and is the first Swedish study to attempt to answer the question.

Some overall conclusions and recommendations:

  • Employment and wage development among groups where immigration has been relatively extensive have been weaker than for groups that have been less exposed to immigration.
  • Immigration to Sweden in the short term seems to have contributed to a slightly lower relative employment level and average wage for domestic-born than would otherwise have been the case. The effect seems to be driven by increased competition through immigration from Sweden's Nordic neighbors.
  • It is thus not refugee and relative immigration that seems to drive the estimated effects. The effects also seem to be somewhat greater for groups with a relatively weak position in the labor market, such as the low-educated and low-income earners.
  • The effects of immigration in the longer term or with regard to other outcomes have not been studied, but it may be different from the short-term horizon.

About the author

The report, The labour market effects of immigration: Lessons from international literature and Swedish results (2016: 2), is written by Mattias Engdahl, fil. dr. in economics.

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