Swedish government proposing changes for work permits

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The Swedish government is proposing changes to their immigration policy that will grant more power to employers in deciding whether they need to recruit foreign labor. The proposal calls for the changes to take effect on 15 December 2008.

The new proposal would allow the employer to decide whether they need to hire a non-European Economic Area (third-country) national, rather than a public authority as is the case now.

If this proposal becomes policy, a work and residence permit may be granted if:

  • the employee will earn enough money to support him or herself
  • employment conditions meet collective standards and customary conditions for the sector
  • trade unions have an opportunity to express their opinion on employment conditions
  • the job has been advertised in Sweden and the EU

The Swedish Migration Board stresses that work and residence permits must still be applied for before the worker enters Sweden and starts his or her employment. However, there are a few exceptions.

These include:

  • students in Sweden under a residence permit who have earned 30 or more education credits or completed one semester of post-graduate studies
  • exceptional situations where someone has been offered employment and there is a special need for them to begin the job immediately
  • asylum seekers who have been denied asylum and the decision has taken legal effect, as long as they have been employed for at least six months and have been promised continued employment for at least an additional year

The government proposal also states that a temporary work and residence permit would be granted for up to four years. After this period, a foreign worker could apply for permanent residence.

If an employee lost his or her job during their temporary permit stage, they would be required to find a job within three months or face losing their work permit.