12:03 GMT14 August 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL
    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)

    In the aftermath of the recent years' migrant crisis, a growing number of Swedish industries see a need for Arabic dictionaries and phrasebooks in order to facilitate newcomers' professional career. Recently, a construction glossary has been developed by the building group Skanska.

    Together with the glossary, Skanska launched an international leadership program with the aim of recruiting construction engineers from the recent years' crop of "new Swedes." The leadership program lasts six months and includes 10 weeks of theoretical training, the rest being practice.

    So far, 30 people have completed the program, of whom 22 received permanent employment at the construction company. Skanska stressed the importance of having diversity for the company's future development.

    "For us it's about different things. Firstly, to be able to recruit all possible individuals and broaden the base of our pool. Secondly, to recruit people who have a different approach, different experiences and ways of thinking, because we believe this enriches our company. Thirdly, is to reflect Swedish society in a more adequate way," Anna Wenner, HR Director at Skanska Sweden, told Swedish Radio.

    In recent years, the number of Arabic speakers has increased in Sweden dramatically, which prompted both the authorities and private companies in different industries to produce Arabic dictionaries, glossaries and phrasebooks devoted to various terminologies. At present, glossaries with medical, technical, labor market and civil defense terms are available.

    "It's a good way to increase knowledge, improve communication and allow people to feel included in the workplace. Many of the terms we use are very specific, which is why it is important to correctly understand what we're talking about," Anna Wenner said.

    Recently, Sweden launched its first theological training for Arabic speakers, which is provided by Sundbyberg Center Church. The students are reportedly coming from across Sweden, but also from countries like Morocco, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

    "It's academic education leading to a pastor degree that is recognized in the US and throughout the Arab world. We are working right now to also have it approved in Germany which would open doors to work as a pastor in the whole of Europe," pastor Merzek Botros told Swedish newspaper Dagen.

    In 2015, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström came under fire for congratulating Swedish Muslims on Ramadan in Arabic, which caused strong reactions. Some people wondered if it really was Wallström's real account or if she had converted to Islam. Others ventured that it was strange of the Foreign Minister to draw attention to the Muslim feast, without affording even a brief greeting to Norwegians on their national day or even wishing a happy Easter to Sweden's Christians, who are still the majority in the Nordic country.

    ​In 2014, Swedish Radio started broadcasting in Arabic in order to appeal to the broad Arabic-speaking public. Arabic is now considered to be Sweden's second-largest language, having effectively surpassed Finnish. In 2012, roughly 200,000 people listed Finnish as their mother tongue, compared to 155,000 who were registered as speakers of Arabic. Since then, however, the dramatic influx of migrants from predominantly Arab-speaking regions such as the Middle East and northern Africa has tipped the scale. In the past two years, Sweden took in over 200,000 asylum seekers, the majority of which speak Arabic.


    ​Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!

    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)


    Sweden Opens Its Prisons for Migrants
    Denmark Bending Down Under Burden of Immigrant Baby Boom
    Migrants to Put Norwegian Welfare Under Stress, Outnumber Norwegians Soon
    Sweden Resorting to Wage Dumping to Avoid Migrants Twiddling Their Thumbs
    Expectant Mothers Sent From Sweden Amid Migrant-Propelled Baby Boom
    Arabic language, language proficiency, Scandinavia, Sweden
    Community standardsDiscussion