The full report is available at Summary of the report
Immigration to Sweden from the New EU Member States
Christer Gerdes and Eskil Wadensjö
Sweden is a member of a progressively more comprehen- Swedish labour market as well as some discussions about sive joint international labour market. As early as 1954, the how migration may have influenced the Swedish economy.
common Nordic labour market was formed, and Sweden became a member of the EU/EEA’s common labour mar- Immigration from the new member states increased after ket in 1994 and the EU in 1995. The EU has since under- both 2004 and 2007. Many migrants came from Poland af- gone three stages of expansion, in 2004, 2007 and 2013. ter 2004 and Romania after 2007. There is considerably The biggest enlargement took place on 1 May 2004, with less immigration from other countries. However, there is ten new EU member states, eight Central and Eastern Eu- more from the Baltic countries, Hungary and Bulgaria than ropean countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, from the other new member states. That the largest num- Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and bers are primarily from Poland and secondly from Roma- two in the Mediterranean area (Cyprus and Malta). It was nia can be explained by the facts that they are the two larg- possible for Sweden and the other old member states to est countries in terms of population size and that Poland is introduce transitional rules in terms of opportunities to im- a neighbouring country across the Baltic Sea. Earlier mi- migrate from the new member states in Central and East- gration can have an impact via a network effect. Even be- ern Europe. Concerns were raised about social tourism in fore 2004, many who were born in Poland lived in Sweden. the political debate – that some would move here not to Compared with the migration before the EU enlargement, work but to gain income transfers in Sweden. However, it was decided after an intense discussion not to impose any transitional rules. Only two other countries chose not There are some problems with the statistics. In the popula- to do so, Ireland and the UK (although the two countries tion statistics, only those who declare their intention to stay imposed some minor restrictions). From 1 January 2007, for at least one year in Sweden are included and therefore the EU was enlarged by two other new members, Bulgaria taken into account in our study. Among those who have ar- and Romania. These two countries have lower income lev- rived, many return: we can see this in the emigration statis- els than all the other old and new EU member states. Even tics. However, emigration is underestimated. Many people this time, Sweden decided to abstain from introducing any do not report to the tax authorities when they move out of transitional rules. On 1 July 2013, the EU gained its twen- the country. Gradually, corrections are made (which may take several years) but emigration becomes misclassified in terms of which year the exodus occurs. The most prob- In this study, we examine what has happened with immi- lematic consequence resulting from this delay in the updat- gration from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and ing of the public records is that the number of foreign-born 2007; it is too early to evaluate the impact of Croatia be- coming a member of the EU. We look at the size of the mi- gration flows, the educational level of new migrants who When the number of foreign-born individuals is overesti- have come to Sweden, what has happened to them in the mated, the employment rate will be underestimated. This Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies
Fleminggatan 20 | SE-112 26 Stockholm | Tel: +46 (8) 586 447 00 | Fax: +46 (8) 586 447 06 | [email protected]
The full report is available at means that we do not have any reliable statistics on the em- differences in age and education, we also find some differ- ployment rates of those who come from these new member ences in pay. Those coming from the new member states countries. For those for whom we do not have notification have lower wages than those born in Sweden. The differ- that they are employed, we do not know whether they are ence is not very large, about 6 per cent. This may be due out of work but still in Sweden or whether they have left to the fact that many of the migrants do not have jobs for the country. However, for those for whom we have an in- which they are trained: they are what is commonly referred dication that they are employed, we have information that to as “over-educated”. The explanations for that may be a allows us to examine their labour market situation.
lack of knowledge of the Swedish language or that they have education that is not in demand in the Swedish labour When it comes to education, we can see that those who market, but also discrimination. It is important to exam- come are relatively well educated compared with those ine continually how wages evolve with increasing time in born in Sweden. Above all, they usually have at least sec- ondary education. This partly reflects the fact that mainly young people come from these countries. Younger cohorts The number of persons who have come to Sweden from the are on average better educated. Many also have a univer- new member states is small compared with both the overall sity education. There are, as in other areas, differences be- size of the Swedish labour market and the total immigra- tween those who come from different EU countries.
tion to Sweden. Therefore, we do not expect any major effects on the labour market in terms of employment and Those arriving as labour migrants are often concentrated wages in Sweden. International research also suggests that in particular sectors and occupations. This also applies to the effects on employment and wages for those already in those coming from the new member countries to other EU the country (those born in the country or those who have countries, such as Ireland, the UK and Denmark. When we previously immigrated) are low or non-existent. It is most look at the breakdown by broadly defined sectors in Swe- likely that such a study will find effects in occupations to den, we do not find particularly big differences. The distri- which relatively many migrants arrive and from which few bution is approximately the same as for those born in Swe- leave for other professions, such as medical doctors and den. There may be differences on a more detailed level.
When we compare the number of hours worked between As mentioned, a political debate demonstrated concern those from the new EU countries and those born in Swe- that many of the immigrants from the new EU member den, we find practically no differences. For both those who countries would end up in welfare dependency and that have moved here and those born in Sweden, women work there would be “social tourists”. We have investigated this on average slightly fewer hours per month than men.
claim for those who are of working age and not received any such indications. It is not more common for those who Regarding the average earnings between those born in the are from these countries to receive different types of in- new member states and those born in Sweden, we obtain come transfers, nor are the amounts received higher than the same result: no significant differences. Those who those for people born in Sweden. This result would be even come from these countries are on average not a group that stronger if we included those aged 65 years and older, the is characterized by a low labour income. When we make age at which the majority has retired and receives a pen- that kind of average calculation, we do not take account sion. Those born in Sweden are overrepresented in this age of the differences in each individual’s educational back- category and therefore more often receive a pension. They ground; as mentioned earlier, the group of migrants from also differ in terms of entitlement rights whereby as a rule the new EU member countries is often well educated. one has to have a record of having lived in Sweden for 40 When we estimate wage equations and take into account years to receive a full guarantee pension.
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies
Fleminggatan 20 | SE-112 26 Stockholm | Tel: +46 (8) 586 447 00 | Fax: +46 (8) 586 447 06 | [email protected]


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