Sweden announces new work permit measures
The Swedish government has introduced new rules for obtaining and renewing work permits. Effective as of 1 June 2022, the rules apply to employers and employees alike.
The essential changes include:
● An applicant will be required to present an employment contract (previously, a formal job offer sufficed);
● Employees who wish to bring their families to Sweden are now subject to maintenance requirement;
● A new residence permit type has been introduced for highly educated individuals who come to Sweden to seek employment or explore private business opportunities;
● A work permit can now be renewed multiple times, for two years at a time. Previously, the validity period was limited to four years;
● Employers will now be required to report changed conditions for employees. Failure to comply will be penalized.
Brief explanation of the new rules
1. An applicant will be required to present an employment contract
As of 1 June 2022, a signed employment contract is required to obtain a work permit. Previously, a job offer was sufficient. Exceptions include, among others, researchers, seasonal workers, and au pairs.
2. More checks to ensure compliance with the employment conditions
In case of deterioration of the working conditions, the employer shall report the change to the Swedish Migration Agency. Failure to report may be subject to a fine.
3. Maintenance requirement for workers who have accompanying families
The maintenance requirement means that applicants must have an income sufficient to cover the cost of housing and living expenses for themselves and their family members. This requirement applies to the family members who apply for a residence permit for the first time, not in the event of an extension.
4. Residence permits can now be renewed multiple times
Those who do not qualify for permanent residence after having held a work permit for four years can apply for an extension of their residence permits for another two years. A permit can be renewed multiple times, for two years at a time, provided all requirements are duly met.
5. New residence permit type for highly educated individuals seeking work
Advanced degree holders now have the opportunity to apply for a residence permit to look for work in Sweden, or to explore private business opportunities. The validity period of such permits range from three to nine months. Eligibility requirements include financial solvency, i.e. applicants must have the necessary means to pay for their stay in Sweden, return trip, and a comprehensive health insurance plan.
Revocation of residence permits
Effective 1 June, employees will no longer be subject to deportation following minor mistakes or deviations during their period of employment.