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Who has the right to work in Sweden?

In this episode we discuss work permits and explore who has the right to work in Sweden. Our guest Simon Agerberg from Swedish Migration Agency explains the rules concerning work permits. Tune in to hear about the several types of permits available to foreign citizens.

Adiam Tsehaye:

Hi everyone, you're listening to New in Sweden podcast. Today we discuss about the rules that apply to foreign citizens who want to work in Sweden. My name is Adiam Tsehaye and I'm joined by Pär Axelsson.

Pär Axelsson:

Thank you, Adiam. Yes, we at Arbetsförmedlingen receive questions about this sometimes.

And since Arbetsförmedlingen does not make decisions about who's allowed to work in Sweden, we will ask Simon, who works at the Swedish Migration Agency, Migrationsverket, to help us figure out the rules.But we should perhaps start by explaining what the Migration Agency is.

Adiam:

Definitely it's a government agency responsible for who is allowed to come to Sweden to live and work here. It issues work permits and considers applications regarding asylum and citizenship.

Pär:

Exactly. The Swedish Migration Agency handles rules applicable to people who want to come to Sweden. But what is the most common reason why people want to come to Sweden? Let us hear what Simon from the Migration Agency says.

Simon:

So the largest group of applicants that we have at the Migration Agency are actually people looking to work in Sweden. So those are people applying for work permits.

Second to that is people wanting to move to a family in Sweden. And after that the third largest group is students and then asylum seekers. Simon mentions work permit. A work permit gives you the right to work in Sweden. All foreign citizens need a work permit to work here. But this permit can be obtained in different ways. Sometimes it can be quite straightforward and sometimes it can be quite difficult to get a work permit.

Pär:

Yes. We will go through some different examples of people to see what applies to them and what they need to do to be able to work in Sweden.

Adiam:

Let's start with Farsad. He's from Iran. He has applied for asylum in Sweden and wants to get a job as quickly as possible. He's now waiting for decision on his residence permit from the Migration Agency. The question is, will he be allowed to work during his asylum process Pär, you sat down with Simon from the Migration Agency. Let's hear what he has to say.

Simon:

It depends. Generally, yes. When it comes to asylum seekers or people seeking protection or asylum in Sweden, the general rule is that you're allowed to work while your case is being handled, as long as you help establish your identity. And you do that by handing in identification documents to the Migration Agency.

And the reason for that is that we need to be certain that of course, if i satisfy SAD.

Pär:

Yeah. Does this apply to all asylum seekers? Because people seek asylum for a variety of reasons.

Simon:

But your reasons for seeking asylum doesn't affect this at all. So yes, no, it applies to all asylum seekers.

Adiam:

So Farsad, in all asylum seekers in Sweden whose identity is confirmed are allowed to work while they wait for a decision on whether they will be allowed to stay in Sweden. This is called a residence permit. And if you are an asylum seeker you will receive a document to prove that you have applied for asylum. It is called an LMA card and that card has information about whether or not you are entitled to work.

Pär:

A lot of people wonder what applies to their relatives. If you consider Farsad side here, he might have a spouse and children who are still in Iran.The question is what is required for them to be able to come here and whether his wife is allowed to work if she comes to Sweden. I ask something about this as well.

Simon:

In order for his family to be able to move to Farsad in Sweden, they need to apply for a residence permit. And the requirements are somewhat different depending on what country you come from. And in Farsad's case, him and his family are from Iran and that's a country outside of the EU. And then it's primarily what we call the maintenance requirement that's important, which means that Farsad needs to be able to show that he can provide for his family when they get here. And that means he needs to have a large enough home and a high enough income. Of all of that is fulfilled, then they will be able to apply for a residence permit for the family to come here. And if granted, Farsad's wife will be able to work in Sweden, because that right comes with the permit.

Adiam:

That's right. If Farsad is granted a residence permit amidst some other requirements, his close family will be allowed to come here. And his wife can start working without any specific permits. So now we have heard what the rules are for asylum seekers in Sweden, but what about those who are from a European Union country and want to work in Sweden? Do they need a work permit? Can you tell us about the next example Pär?

Pär:

Absolutely. We will now consider the rules that apply for Tom. He comes from Hungary and wants to move to Sweden to work as a carpenter. Hungary is a EU member state. We ask Simon what rules apply for Tom.

Simon:

For EU citizens or citizens of an EEA country, you don't need any permit before moving to Sweden. You're allowed to move here and start working right away. But what's important to remember, however, is that you register with the Swedish tax agency so that you'll be able to pay taxes.

Pär:

OK, but if Tom wants to start his own company as a carpenter, can he do that in Sweden?

Simon:

That's also possible. Same rules apply there. And it's also important, of course, for him to remember to do all of the necessary registration for him and his company.

But yes, he can do that.

Adiam:

This was interesting. EU / EEA citizens have the right to work, study or reside in Sweden without applying for a residence permit. The same rules apply if you are a Nordic citizen. However, you need to be listed as a resident. You can do that by contacting Swedish tax office, Skatteverket. You also need to pay tax.

Pär:

Yes, it is important for Sweden and it is important for the person who comes here to work.People who live and work in Sweden are to have the same entitlement to healthcare as everyone else in Sweden, and they must pay taxes.

Adiam:

Yeah, as a EU citizen it is easier to come to Sweden to work. But now we are getting to example example number three and we will consider people outside of the EU who want to come to Sweden for work. Each year the Migration Agency receives about 90 000 applications for work permits from people outside of the EU and other rules apply in these cases.

Pär:

Yes. Our next example is Angela. She lives in Brazil. A large part of her family, including her grandchild, now live in Sweden and she wants to be closer to them. The question is whether she should be able to try to find a job and apply for a work permit in Sweden. Let us hear what Simon at the Migration Agency says again.

Simon:

In Sweden, you can get a work permit if you have a job offer that meets a number of requirements. For instance, the employment contract and salary must be a certain level and there has to be certain insurances signed, and you also need to have a valid passport. But if the job offer meets all of those requirements, you are able to apply for and be granted a residence permit that's usually valid for two years.

Adiam:

So Angela needs to have a job offer and apply for a work permit while she's still in Brazil. The job in question needs to have a salary that is at the same level as other salaries in Sweden, and the employer needs to ensure that she is insured while working here.

Pär:

Yes, there are a few things that need to be in place before you apply for work permit, and apparently it could take a long time, perhaps six to ten months, before she receives a decision whether her application has been approved or not.

But it is in any case a very good opportunity.

Adiam:

That's right. Because in this case, Sweden still stands out in comparison with other countries. There are very few countries that will give you a work permit just based on a job offer. Most countries only grant work permits for industry where there is demand for labour.

Pär:

There are two other situations that can give you the right to work in Sweden.

One is if you have come here from another country to study. While you are studying, you are allowed to work and you can also ask for permission to remain here and look for work in Sweden for up to 12 months after your studies are complete.

Adiam:

And the other possibility is for those who have a higher education degree. The following applies in this case.

Simon:

So from 1 June 2022, there's a new possibility for people who want to come and work in Sweden. If you have an advanced university degree you're now able to apply for a permit to come to Sweden to look for work or to start your own company. This permit is valid for anything from three to nine months but it also comes with a condition that you're able to support yourself financially during this time.

Pär:

We have gone through various examples and we will end this episode soon, but there has been a lot of information in today's episode. Shall we do a short checklist here here at the end? I will make some statements and we'll see if they are correct. One, asylum seekers can work here if they have valid identification documents.

Adiam:

That is correct.

Pär:

Citizens from countries outside of the EU need to apply for work permit when they are in their home country. The processing time may be long.

Adiam:

Exactly, and work permits are normally valid for two years. What's the possibility of extension?

Pär:

OK, those who hold a foreign academic degree, they can come here and apply for jobs?

Adiam:

Yes, if certain other requirements are met.

Pär:

OK, students who come here from other countries are allowed to work while studying in Sweden.

Adiam:

Yes, and they can also remain in the country and look for work for a period of time after they finish studying.

Pär:

Those who want to know more about this, perhaps read information in their own pace. What can they do?

Adiam:

They can visit the Migration Agency website www.migrationsverket.se to read about the rules in several different languages.

Pär:

I hope that we've been able to provide you with some answers today.

Adiam:

I hope so too. And we want to thank Simon from the Swedish Migration Agency.

Pär:

Yes, thanks to Simon and thank you all for listening.

Narrator:

You have listened to the Swedish public employment service podcast New in Sweden. You have all the previous episodes on the Arbetsförmedlingen play site.

If you have any questions or tips, please email us at podcast at Arbetsförmedlingen.se. This episode was produced November 2022.