EU and international work
Arbetsförmedlingen cooperates within the EU and internationally in order to contribute to sustainable development of the labour market in Sweden and the countries with which we cooperate.
Partnerships and networks
Our partnerships within the EU and globally are based on
- Sweden’s membership of the EU
- The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda
- Sweden’s global development policy and the EU’s external assistance policy
- The EU’s external assistance policy.
An increasingly global and digital labour market increases the demands placed on us to, in partnership with others, contribute to sustainable development in the labour market. This is especially pertinent to the transformation of the labour force in order to meet future skills requirements. The capacity of the public employment services in the EU and the wider world is key in order to contribute to increase employment, which is vital to tackling exclusion and reducing poverty. As an EU member state, Sweden has also committed to facilitating the free movement of labour and to contributing to strengthening the common European labour market.
We endeavour to be an organisation that learns and that actively works to achieve European and global objectives. Having access to international networks forms a basis of Arbetsförmedlingen’s development and learning. This work contributes to new perspectives on the development of Arbetsförmedlingen’s assignment, activities and the goals we set.
Here you can read about some of the networks and partnerships we are involved in.
The free movement of people is one of the fundamental rights in the EU. These rights include that people, companies and organisations shall be given information about and help to find jobs or labour within the EU, EEA and Switzerland. The European Employment Services (EURES), a European cooperation network we are involved in, exists in order to facilitate this.
As an EU member state, Sweden has committed to facilitating the free movement of labour and to contributing to strengthening the common European labour market. Here at Arbetsförmedlingen, we are contributing to this via the EURES cooperation network. We are to adhere to and apply legal acts regarding the free movement of EU citizens in the labour market and employers’ opportunities to recruit staff. The cooperation with the other member states creates opportunities and strengthens Arbetsförmedlingen to face the challenges present in the European labour market.
We have two roles in the EURES network in that we are both the national coordination office and an EURES member.
National coordination office
This role includes coordinating the Swedish EURES network’s members and partners. Members and partners are those who provide mobility services to employers and jobseekers. The public employment service has a special role in each country and is always included as a member. Other organisations and companies can, after their application has been approved, participate as members or partners. A member provides the entire range of EURES services, and a partner offers a more limited range. The national coordination office’s role includes handling applications from the companies and organisations in Sweden that want to join the EURES network. The network’s composition of different actors contributes to the supply of skills to the national labour market and has a leading role within European matching.
Read more about membership as well as information about and contact details for members and partners in Sweden and Europe:
In our role as an EURES member includes the provision of EURES services within matching, information and advice to employers and jobseekers. This is an integrated part of Arbetsförmedlingen’s labour market policy assignment. Arbetsförmedlingen’s active efforts in the European labour market is able to meet employers’ needs in respect of labour that is difficult to recruit and to give jobseekers access to a common European labour market. Consequently, EURES is creating more opportunities for both jobseekers and employers when it comes to matching with a focus on occupations where there is a shortage of labour. The services are offered by EURES staff, known as EURES Advisers, or via self-service. As is the case for all members of the network, there is also a requirement to refer, when necessary, to other EURES members or partners in the network.
Read more about Arbetsförmedlingen’s services as an EURES member:
We cooperate with other European public employment services and the European Commission in the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network). The purpose of this cooperation is to improve the public employment services’ efficiency and capacity and thus contribute to increasing employment in the EU.
This cooperation is regulated through decisions made at the EU level and is a priority cooperation network for learning and development within Arbetsförmedlingen. The network’s annual work programme with goals and activities forms the basis on which cooperation takes place. The labour market of the future, digitalisation, long-term unemployment and integration of new immigrants are examples of issues that are dealt with in the network.
You can read more about the collaboration in the network on the European Commission’s website for public employment services.
Arbetsförmedlingen is one of the co-founders of the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES), an international organisation whose members are public employment services from more than 80 countries. WAPES forms an important platform for Arbetsförmedlingen’s contacts outside the EU, not least within the scope of our work with international development. Arbetsförmedlingen contributes actively to the work within WAPES in order to strengthen the organisation’s development and Arbetsförmedlingen’s international network and frame of reference.
We are an important actor in several of EU’s funds and programmes. We run and co-fund projects that are in line with our assignment and that contribute to the development of our activities.
The European Social Fund plus (ESF+) is the most important tool for investing in peoplein the EU. Arbetsförmedlingen has been tasked with participating in and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the programme for the purpose of enhancing and developing the national labour market policy.
Ongoing ESF project:
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF) is a special EU instrument to express EU solidarity with European workers or the self-employed who have been displaced due to restructuring. Arbetsförmedlingen is the administrative agency for the fund.
International development cooperation
Work and employment is an effective method of combatting poverty where the public employment service plays a key role in developing a well-functioning labour market. Our cooperation with other countries is conducted in projects and shall contribute to the implementation of
- Sweden’s global development policy
- The UN Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda
- Sweden’s and the EU’s external assistance policy.
The Swedish Government places great importance on the 2030 Agenda and expects government agencies to contribute to the achieving the goals. Goal eight, Decent Work and Economic Growth, is particularly relevant to us.
We work with countries in the vicinity of the EU such as Belarus and Tunisia but also with countries in southern Africa and East Asia. In most cases, the aim of this cooperation is to support the development of labour market agencies and labour market policy in the partner countries. However, in some countries labour migration has been the primary theme.
Financing and resources
Our international development cooperation takes place in projects that are externally financed. The most important sponsors are Sida and the EU.
The international development cooperation conducted by Arbetsförmedlingen is based on the agency’s core competency, and each year, around 50 of the agency’s employees are involved in the development cooperation.
For democracy and decreased poverty
A well-functioning employment service contributes to more people – regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disability or individual financial and other conditions – having the opportunity to pursue education, to work and to support themselves. Equal financial opportunities for women and men are one of the keys to combatting poverty.
We contribute to building up a good public management culture in the collaborating countries which is an important factor in the development towards democracy and reduced poverty.
Each year we publish a report on our international development work. You can find reports under “Governance and results”.
We conduct international development cooperation projects within a number of areas relating to the labour market.
In these projects, we often cooperate with ministries of labour and labour market agencies at a central, regional and local level. In order for this capacity development work to achieve sustainable results, it also requires us to cooperate with several other actors.
Arbetsförmedlingen conducts the international training programme (ITP) Productive Employment and Decent Work for Sustainable Development – In line with Agenda 2030 during the period 2016–2022. The participants in the programme come from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The programme aims to increase participants’ understanding of the central role labour market policy plays in combatting poverty and to provide insight into the functions of the labour market.
Arbetsförmedlingen is implementing another international training programme (ITP), Social Protection for Sustainable Development – In line with Agenda 2030 together with the South African Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) over the period 2019-2023. The participants in the first programme come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Programme group number two includes Rwanda, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Sudan. The purpose of the programme is to strengthen the participating countries’ capacity to design and introduce social protection systems in their home countries.
In Cambodia, it is difficult to find a job for yor young people with disabilities, especially women. In 2022, Arbetsförmedlingen launched a Sida-funded project that aims to strengthen the capacity of both the Cambodian public employment agency, the National Employment Agency, and civil society organisations to support people with disabilities, with a particular focus on young people and women. The project is intended to develop and test the existing labour market measures and produce a handbook for vocational rehabilitation. Cooperation with the organisations that currently account for most of the support for people with disabilities is a cornerstone of the project.
Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service) contributes to the development of public employment services in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo through a three-year project funded by Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). The project focuses on labour market forecasts and analyses, work with vulnerable groups, digital services, and staff training. The purpose of the project is to have the employment services of these three countries exchange experiences with each other. The project is run in collaboration with the Swiss organisation Helvetas.
Arbetsförmedlingen runs a project in Albania together with the UN agency UNDP and ADRF, an Albanian organisation for people with disabilities. The aim is to strengthen the partnership between the Albanian employment service, other labour market actors and the country's municipalities. This may lead to a more inclusive and integrated labour market, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups.
While unemployment is high in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many employers there report difficulties in finding qualified staff. Together with France's employment service, Arbetsförmedlingen is participating in a project aimed at improving conditions for individuals who are further from the labour market. The project is led by the UN agency ILO and funded by the EU and Sida.
Arbetsförmedlingen is participating in an EU-funded project in Guatemala, aiming to provide more opportunities for young people and women to access quality employment. The project includes developing vocational training, especially for small businesses. The main focus for Arbetsförmedlingen is to support colleagues in Guatemala in developing ways to identify demands in the job market. The project runs for two years.
Our job is to match those who are looking for employees with those who are looking for work as efficiently as possible. Read more about our overall goals and focus areas.