New Rules to Attract More Highly-Skilled Workers

From the 1st of June 2022, new rules for work permits in Sweden are in effect and are impacting several types of work permits. The rules apply not only to new applications but also to applications that have already been submitted for the work permit, awaiting a decision.

Individuals are now required to include the employment contract when applying, and employers are obligated to report any deterioration of the terms of employment. The purpose of these changes is to counteract, among other things, employees from being exploited by their employers.

With the introduction of these new rules, Sweden anticipates becoming much more attractive and capable of retaining international competence.

Most Significant Changes:

  • When applying for a work permit, an offer of employment is no longer sufficient. The individual needs to present a signed employment contract before receiving a decision.
  • Maintenance requirement is introduced for accompanying family members of the individual. They must show that they can support the accompanying family members the first time when they apply for a residence permit as a co-applicant.
  • It will be possible to apply for an extended work permit several times, making it possible to stay in Sweden for more than four years, even if the individual does not meet the requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit.
  • If the individual needs to travel abroad on a business trip while waiting for a decision on an extended work permit, they can apply for an entry visa. (Applicable only for visas for a business trip, not for any other travel reasons nor for family members).
  • The talent visa. A new type of residency permit for individuals highly-skilled and highly educated who want to come to apply for work or start a business.
  • Changes are being made to avert foreign workers from being rejected due to minor administrative errors. The new rules state that a temporary residency permit for work does not need to be revoked in minor cases of deviations or if a revocation seems unreasonable.

Most important rules to know about as an employer:

  • Obligation to report changed terms. Under the new rules, employers are required to report to the Swedish Migration Agency if the contract terms of employment have become less favourable and the working conditions of the individual with the work permit. If they fail to do so, they risk a fine.
  • Spot checks from Migration Agency. The agency is empowered to check that the terms of employment are being adhered.

Higher demands on the employer

Presenting an employment contract, instead of an offer of employment by the individual applying for the work permit, places higher demands on the employer. An employment contract states the salary and terms and conditions the employer and employee have agreed upon. If needed, the employment contract can include a clause that applies only if the employee receives a work permit.

How will the Swedish Migration Agency deal with uprising “minor deviations”?

Due to the many high-profile cases of talented workers in Sweden being expelled because of minor mistakes, most often regarding insurance, the new law states that a temporary residency permit for work should not be revoked in “minor cases of deviations” or if a revocation appears unreasonable. Minor administrative errors do not have to lead to rejection.

Carl Bexelius, Head of Legal Affairs of the Swedish Migration Agency, said in his statement: “Already today, the practice developed in court gives us some room to deal with minor errors based on an overall assessment, but now we are getting legislation that makes it clear that minor deviations should not have to lead to decisions to expel people who are established in the labour market,”.

He also stated that the rules introduced on maintenance requirements for accompanying family members of the individual, will be “similar to the rules that apply to other family immigration – but without a requirement for housing of a certain size and standard.”

“Work-related income” can come from a salary, sickness benefit, an income-related pension, or unemployment insurance payments from Swedish unemployment insurance.

If you have any questions or wish to seek advice concerning how these changes will impact your business and how to be prepared for the new changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.