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Jobless in Swedish town paid to move to Norway

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09:41 CET+01:00
A town in eastern Sweden has launched a creative approach to battling youth unemployment in the area by paying jobless young people to move to Norway.

More than 100 young people from Söderhamn, located about 250 kilometres north of Stockholm, have already left the town to seek their fortunes with Sweden's neighbour to the west, Swedish public radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

And most of them have found work straight away, a feat they were unable to achieve in the Swedish town of about 12,000 residents.

Söderhamn resident Andreas Larsson had been out of work for two years before taking advantage of the programme and now works as a truck driver in Oslo.

"I came here on a Thursday and had a job by Monday morning. It went that fast. It felt almost unreal, like I'd come to the promised land," he told SR.

The initiative, undertaken via a partnership between Söderhamn municipality and the local branch of Sweden's National Public Employment Service, offers unemployed young people a month-long preparation course, paid transit to Oslo, as well as a month of free accommodation in the Norwegian capital.

Once in Norway, the jobless young Swedes also receive help from job coaches from Nordjobb, a service that arranges jobs for young people in the Nordic countries.

Mohamed Chabchoub, head of the local employment office in Söderhamn, defended the programme, explaining that it is in line with the employment service's mission.

"We're not sending them away; we're helping them take a step forward and to have a richer experience," he told the broadcaster.

"They get some economic security and at the same time we hope they come back with renewed strength. It's not a kick, but a pat on the shoulder."

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