Master of Advanced Studies
in Humanitarian Logistics and Management


Successfully Integrating Somali Refugees into Sweden - E.S.

The Social Integration Challenges Of Somali Refugees In Falköping Municipality Of Sweden.

by Ahmed Ali Farah



Sweden has been receiving a huge number of refugees over the past years larger per capita than any other European country (quartz 2016).

163,000 refugees persons have arrived in Sweden last year from Africa and Asia, turning Sweden to a country of immigrants, 16 percent of the Swedish population are now foreign-born (SCB 2016).

Despite the fact Sweden has the most welcoming asylum policies and most generous welfare programs in the European Union; the integration policy has not succeeded to cover the integration gap between immigrants and the host society. Refugees have had tremendous challenges, in the areas of the labor market, education, income, housing, health, civic engagement, and social cohesion.

The Somali immigrants which have been the target group of this study have additional challenges and are the least integrated refugees in the Swedish system and this thesis examines the social integration challenges that hamper/or assists the Somali refugees in municipality Falköping municipality of Sweden.

The goal of integration policy in Sweden is equal rights and obligations and opportunities for all, regardless of ethnic and cultural background. The strategy identifies seven areas that are especially important to work on to achieve the goal. These are: -

  • Faster introduction for new arrivals
  • More in work, more entrepreneurs
  • Better results and greater equality in school
  • Better language skills and more adult education opportunities
  • Effective anti-discrimination measures
  • Development of urban districts with extensive social inclusion
  • Common basic values in a society characterized by increasing diversity
  • The overall focus of the strategy is to increase the supply and demand of labor and to create quality and equality in schools.

                   (Ministry of integration and Gender equality December 2009)

This study adopted a qualitative method and the data collected here is obtained through semi-structured interview and focus group discussions. The analysis of the findings relies on the answers of the interviewed informant’s as well documentary analysis as complimentary use.

The researcher interviewed a total number of 18 purposively selected participants, living in Falköping municipality consisting of Somali immigrants, Integrated and non-integrated ones and as well as government officers/service providers.

Government officers included managers working at adult school for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) and integration officers who are directly dealing with the targeted population (Somali immigrants in Sweden) these service providers include field workers, integration officers, school managers of various professional associations, public and private workers in Sweden.

the problems raised during the study included the Somalis integration process which starts with many hurdles from the entry point, some of the key findings focused here are housing challenges some extended families containing 8-10 persons living in a three rooms apartment. Some informants discover that they may not get a house unless they get a work and present their good monthly income, besides this there is an inability to own a house due to the issue of “Riba” (the paying of interest) on mortgages which is not allowed according to Islamic principles and that also affects Somali immigrants’ sense of belonging and integration in Sweden.

Other major issues that hindered them to integrate in Sweden are lack of recognition of their official documents, unwelcoming attitudes of many Swedish against immigrants in Sweden. Besides, the strong belief and mentality within the Somali community in Sweden that soon they will move back to Somalia or to other countries delayed their integration. Moreover, the lack of Swedish language competency and educational skills among many Somalis made their economic integration difficult in Sweden while this challenge blocked them finding a job in the labor market.

Furthermore, Somalis in Sweden are frustrated because they understand very little about the rule of law and the system of this country. Finally, the tribal division within the community and lack of effective Somali community organizations in Sweden negatively affected their integration efforts.  

This thesis has greatly contributed to more understanding of the challenges that the Somali immigrant’s faces within the integration policy, after analyzing the core domains of social integration, I draw my conclusion that Swedish integration policy needs to reform several aspects that the findings have clearly pointed out.


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