In this article Jonna LindeJoakim Lindgren and Åsa Sundelin analyse what happens to career counselling when it is intertwined with the asylum process. A Swedish example is an amendment to the education legislation, regarding residence permits for upper secondary level students. Following the resulting changes in juridical, educational and interpersonal conditions, career counsellors must deliver ‘high-stakes counselling’ that can profoundly affect individuals’ prospects of asylum or deportation. Our analysis is based on ethnographically inspired fieldwork, a survey and Bernsteinian theory. In current Swedish conditions, tight matching to demands of the labour market is essential in this ‘high-stakes counselling’. We conclude that a consequence is institutional introduction of conditional citizenship of asylum-seeking students. This allows countries to select migrants through education, which severely conflicts not only with counselling ideals, but also democratic and equality values regarding possibilities to make choices for the future, thus creating ethical dilemmas for counsellors.

Jonna Linde, Joakim Lindgren & Åsa Sundelin (2021) High-Stakes counselling: when career counselling may lead to continuing residence or deportation of asylum-seeking youths, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 42:5-6, 898-913, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2021.1941766

Direct link to the article

For more information, please have a look at this blog post, where the authors discuss their work on career counselling with asylum seekers in Sweden.