Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Directing Paths Into Adulthood: Newly Arrived Students and the Intersection of Education and Migration Policy

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Abstract:  This article is centred on the tendency to align education for newly arrived students with migration policy. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of interviews with four adult migrant students, we aim to investigate how the participants’ experiences of studying and how they imagine their future intersect with their immigration status. The interviews were conducted when they were first studying a language introduction programme, and then three years later. We focus on the participants’ narratives about transitions within the education system and later into the labour market. Using Sara Ahmed’s approach to the orientation of subjects in time and space, the analysis shows that all students expressed a desire to “be in line,” meaning finishing their studies and finding employment. Students with temporary and conditional residence permits were directed towards specific vocational tracks and sectors of the labour market. Migrant students are a heterogenous group and, based on the findings presented, we argue that immigration status constitutes a crucial part of this heterogeneity, influencing how students imagine their future in a new society.

Keywords:  education and migration policy; immigration status; language introduction programmes; migrant students; Sweden; the Upper Secondary School Act



© Maria Rydell, Sofia Nyström, Magnus Dahlstedt. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.