Barriers Abound for Swedish Language Learners

An inspection conducted by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate reveals that many refugees in Sweden are not being offered language training as Swedish law stipulates. According to a series of laws from last year that aim to help ease immigrants into Swedish society, immigrants should be able to begin Swedish language classes within a month of applying to the course. Immigrants should also be able to begin classes within three months of registering as a resident of a Swedish municipality.

The inspection shows that a significant number of municipalities fail to comply with these laws. Many immigrants do not have access to Swedish language classes upon arrival. The munipal governments claim that logistical hinderances, such as summer holidays and few enrollment periods, create barriers for immigrants.

The agency publicly scolded these Swedish municipalities, telling Sveriges Radio, “Municipalities are obligated to ensure that those who have a right to enroll in SFI quickly get information about it; they should understand that it’s a real possibility and that it’s not something one should have to struggle to get information about.”

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