When in Stockholm: Immigrants to Be Drilled About ‘Swedish Norms and Values’

When in Stockholm: Immigrants to Be Drilled About ‘Swedish Norms and Values’
AFP 2018/ ANNE KAURANENEurope15:59 19.02.2018Get short URLTopic: Europe’s Refugee and Migrant Crisis


The steep increase in the number of “new arrivals” in recent years has triggered the need for early and clear information about Swedish society, as well as its values.

Newcomers to Sweden will be provided guidelines on Nordic society and what it expects from them, as establishing oneself in Sweden is a “daunting task,” the government wrote in a press-release calling for a revision of existing social orientation programs to better inform “new Swedes” on the rights, obligations and opportunities provided by Swedish society.

“Some of the values that characterize Sweden are equality, individual rights and obligations, and a clear observance of children’s rights. Equality between women and men is something we have long been fighting for, and we have come a long way. The government wants the social orientation for new arrivals to do more about these things,” Employment and Labor Minister Ylva Johansson said in the press-release.

The task of revising the national educational guidelines in community orientation has been delegated to the Jönköping County Administrative Board. Existing materials shall be updated to more clearly reflect the norms and values expressed by Swedish laws and regulations. The proposal for the new educational material shall be ready by May 31, 2018.

Johansson argued that living in Sweden becomes easier once the new arrivals get to know the norms and values that are not expressed by law but nevertheless “govern Swedes’ way of thinking.”

“In Sweden, we are based on families with two breadwinners and the fact that children are in either preschool or school. This differs very much from life in some of the countries many refugees come from. They must have a change of understanding on how it works and that the children are doing well even though mom is working,” Ylva Johansson explained to the Aftonbladet daily.

Another thing Ylva Johansson chose to emphasize was that the national welfare system was founded on everyone’s contribution.

“Everyone who can work must work. This is nothing you can opt out of,” Johansson emphasized.

Yet another thing that needs emphasizing according to Johansson is that you cannot impose your views on others.

“Every person decides what to think, but it’s society that determines the laws and rules to be followed even if you don’t like them,” Johansson explained.

READ MORE: Shock as Islamic Fundamentalist Gets Green Light to Start School in Sweden

Lastly, she stressed that practical information on how to get on the housing queue or how long you may camp on private property without informing the landowner should also be included.

The biggest opposition party, the Conservatives, welcomed the step, although they were critical of the fact that social orientation hasn’t yet been made mandatory.

According to the Nyheter Idag news outlet, Johansson was asked about a recent case, in which a Muslim woman demanded SEK 120,000 ($15,000) in discrimination compensation from her former employer after being forced to quit as a teacher for refusing to take shake hands with a male colleague. While Johansson argued that this case was “too specific” to be included in society orientation, it was nevertheless necessary to stress Sweden’s commitment to equality.