The new social introduction for asylum seekers is now beginning

On 1 October, the Swedish Migration Agency is beginning a new social introduction for asylum seekers.
– The Swedish Migration Agency is positive to now be able to offer information to asylum seekers, says Anna-Johanna Viking, Process Manager at the Swedish Migration Agency.

In January, the Swedish Migration Agency was commissioned by the Government to give asylum seekers a mandatory social introduction, within the first 14 days. The Swedish Migration Agency previously offered a shorter and more limited social introduction.

– Now, there’s a more specific assignment from the Government about what the introduction must include. The introduction is more comprehensive and will be offered early in the asylum process, says Anna-Johanna Viking.

Orally for adults, in writing for children

The societal information will be provided over two half-day sessions. It will mainly be provided orally in a group setting and is mandatory for all new asylum seekers from the age of 15. Children under 15 are given the same information in a text form that is more adapted especially to children and the idea is that they should go through the material together with one of their parents. Unaccompanied minors are given the introduction orally together with a case officer.

The content of the introduction is intended to help the asylum seeker understand the asylum process and Swedish society, including Swedish legislation, norms, and values. Issues that among other things concern racism, LGBTQ, honour-related violence and oppression, and gender equality are also included in the introduction.

– We did not previously have such a clear assignment to provide information on things that don’t specifically concern our own operations. This demands a lot from us. We need to be attentive and prepared to adjust the contents, says Anna-Johanna Viking.

In the preparation of the educational materials, the Swedish Migration Agency has reviewed existing materials and collaborated with the County Administrative Boards. This is to guarantee uniformity in the information given to asylum seekers during the asylum process and during a potential establishment phase.

The Swedish Migra­tion Agency offers childcare

Since the introduction is compulsory, the Swedish Migration Agency will offer childcare for children between the ages of 3 and 12. The childcare will be in connection with the educational facility.

– The childcare is intended to make it possible for men and women and, for example, single parents to participate on equal terms. Accepting the offer is completely voluntary, says Anna-Johanna Viking.

Possi­bi­lity of a digital intro­duc­tion

The introduction will take place in the Swedish Migration Agency’s arrival cities of Boden, Sundbyberg, Norrköping, Malmö and Gothenburg. It will also be possible to participate over a link from a video conferencing room for those who have already left the arrival city or have their own accommodation. In the cases where people speak a smaller language, it will also be easier to gather a group of asylum seekers from the whole country at a joint session without them having to travel far.