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Sweden targets Indian skilled workers

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Sweden is adjusting its immigration policy to allow both high and low skilled workers from outside the EU easier access to the Swedish labour market.

The new policy, which is due to be implemented in December, will place no limit on the amount of workers coming from a single country and will increase the period for which a work permit is valid from one to two years.

According to Tobias Billstrom, Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, the changes will constitute one of the most profound reforms to immigration policy in several decades. It comes at a time when Sweden is facing severe labour shortages and has a significant need for doctors, nurses, electricians, engineers, IT professionals and welders.

Indian nationals are by far the biggest non-EU migrant group living and working in Sweden and Billstrom chose to announce the changes during a seminar held at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He went on to say that "once the new rules are in place, an employer who is not able to meet labour needs through recruitment in Sweden or in the European Union will be able to recruit labour from any other country."

Foreign workers will be able to bring their families with them to Sweden and, after four years of living and working there, would have the right to apply for permanent residence.