According to Swedish Minister of Labor Ylva Johansson, the need to teach newly-arrived migrants “Swedish values” has been underestimated. In view of this, Johansson is set to give county administrative boards the task of reviewing materials currently used by municipalities for the social orientation offering the newly arrived migrants.
Johansson is critical of how the social orientation for migrants has been structured so-far. She believes that it has been too focused on laws and rules, such as how long one can legally camp at a particular spot in the woods, or how to get into the housing queue.
The Swedish labor minister suggests in an interview with the Swedish News Agency TT that the social orientation needs to take a broader approach, explaining what norms and values that Swedish society is founded on, citing the expectation that both parents will work and that children shouldn't be spanked as examples. According to Johansson, social evaluations have revealed that there is huge demand among participants about how to understand Swedish society, not least its views regarding the individual and family.
“Then it will be easier to understand our system,” Johansson told TT.
Johansson believes that Swedes have been a bit too anxious and self-centered, not fully comprehending how vast the difference is between Sweden and countries that many of the migrants come from. This is why the minister wants to alter social orientation and give more support to the municipal authorities responsible for teaching it.
While the minister wants to emphasize teaching migrants what Swedish values are, she is keen to point out that this is not about assimilation.
“It’s not about what you eat, what you wear or which god you have,” Johansson said to TT.
The revision of the policy towards integrating migrants into Swedish society comes against the backdrop of the broader EU migrant crisis. According to the Swedish Migration Agency, nearly 163,000 people sought asylum in the country in 2015 alone; conversely, less than 115,000 babies were born there that year.