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IN NUMBERS: How many Brits have applied for their post-Brexit status in Sweden?

With just over two months to go until the deadline, several thousand of Sweden's British residents have not yet applied for the post-Brexit residence status that guarantees their continued right to stay in the country.

IN NUMBERS: How many Brits have applied for their post-Brexit status in Sweden?
An ID station at a Migration Agency office in Sundbyberg, north Stockholm, where Brits in the capital region can receive their permit cards. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Since the post-Brexit permits were launched in December 2020, 9,264 British citizens in Sweden have applied for them, according to Migration Agency statistics shared with The Local on July 26th (the data was correct as of July 25th). Around half of those applications were submitted within the first two months it was possible to do so.

That means that more than 5,000 Brits living in Sweden without Swedish citizenship have not yet applied for the status; national data agency Statistics Sweden states that as of the end of 2020, there were 14,903 Brits in this category in total.

The deadline for the application is September 30th, 2021, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that 5,000 Brits risk missing the deadline.

It may be the case that they have already secured their right to stay in Sweden, for example if they also hold nationality of another EU country (the Statistics Sweden dataset excludes Brits who also hold Swedish citizenship, but not other nationalities).

However, this data only includes people included in the national population register, which foreigners are added to if they can prove they will stay in Sweden for at least a year and receive a personnummer or social security number.

Brexit campaign groups have previously warned about the risk of people without a personnummer falling through the gaps and being unable to register, but a personnummer is not a requirement for the residence status, as long as the applicant can prove they moved to Sweden and have lived there legally since before the end of December 2020. In other words, it’s hard to say exactly how many people needed the post-Brexit status and what proportion have not yet applied. The Migration Agency previously estimated that 20,000 Brits would need it.

Of the applications submitted for post-Brexit residence status, around two thirds (6,123) have been granted a permit while about seven percent (676) were rejected. The Local has asked the agency for the most common reasons for rejected permits.

As of late July, a total of 2,465 cases were pending.

Although the UK left the EU in March 2020, the Migration Agency did not allow Brits to apply for their post-Brexit status until December that year, and began processing applications from the start of 2021 due to limited funding.

As well as applying for the post-Brexit residence status, since Brexit there has been a surge in the number of Brits in Sweden applying for Swedish citizenship.

Swedish citizenship grants them the right to stay in Sweden without needing a permit (as well as the right to vote in general elections, for example) although in some specific circumstances the post-Brexit permit grants rights which citizenship does not, in particular when it comes to the conditions on which you can bring a family member to Sweden.

So far in 2021, 820 British citizens have submitted applications for Swedish citizenship, after 2,190 applications in 2020 and 3,495 the year before that. And the number of citizenships granted to Brits for those years were 676, 2,160 and 4,563. The reason those don’t correlate exactly to the number of applications is that there is currently a long delay for citizenship decisions, so many applications are not assessed and granted (or rejected) until a year or even longer after they are submitted.

As of late July, the Migration Agency told The Local there were 646 citizenship applications from British citizens awaiting a decision. 

Brits who have not yet applied for their permit can do so at any point until September 30th, 2021, via the Migration Agency’s web page. You do not need to be physically present in Sweden at the time of application, as long as you can prove you had right of residence before December 31st, 2020.

The agency has urged British nationals to apply as soon as possible and one advantage to this is that once you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter of confirmation, and can use this if you need to prove your right to live in Sweden – for example if returning to the country after travel overseas.

During the time that British applicants are waiting on a decision, they have the same rights as EU citizens and can continue to live and work in Sweden, as long as they moved before December 31st.

Once an application has been approved, it is necessary to visit one of the Migration Agency’s Service Centres to have fingerprints and a photo taken before the residence card can be issued.

Member comments

  1. It maybe that many of us already had permanent Uppehalltilstand obtained before Brexit. I was told that I had to apply for residence as was the advice from the British Embassy, which I did on line only to be told that I still had it from 2003 and told to get a biometric ID card from Migrationsverket to replace the old stamp in a now expired passport.

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How Europe’s population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

The populations of countries across Europe are changing, with some increasing whilst others are falling. Populations are also ageing meaning the EU is having to react to changing demographics.

How Europe's population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

After decades of growth, the population of the European Union decreased over the past two years mostly due to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest data from the EU statistical office Eurostat show that the EU population was 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, 172,000 fewer than the previous year. On 1 January 2020, the EU had a population of 447.3 million.

This trend is because, in 2020 and 2021 the two years marked by the crippling pandemic, there have been more deaths than births and the negative natural change has been more significant than the positive net migration.

But there are major differences across countries. For example, in numerical terms, Italy is the country where the population has decreased the most, while France has recorded the largest increase.

What is happening and how is the EU reacting?

In which countries is the population growing?

In 2021, there were almost 4.1 million births and 5.3 million deaths in the EU, so the natural change was negative by 1.2 million (more broadly, there were 113,000 more deaths in 2021 than in 2020 and 531,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019, while the number of births remained almost the same).

Net migration, the number of people arriving in the EU minus those leaving, was 1.1 million, not enough to compensate.

A population growth, however, was recorded in 17 countries. Nine (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands and Sweden) had both a natural increase and positive net migration.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: Five things to know about Germany’s foreign population

In eight EU countries (the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania, Austria, Portugal and Finland), the population increased because of positive net migration, while the natural change was negative.

The largest increase in absolute terms was in France (+185,900). The highest natural increase was in Ireland (5.0 per 1,000 persons), while the biggest growth rate relative to the existing population was recorded in Luxembourg, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta (all above 8.0 per 1,000 persons).

In total, 22 EU Member States had positive net migration, with Luxembourg (13.2 per 1 000 persons), Lithuania (12.4) and Portugal (9.6) topping the list.

Births and deaths in the EU from 1961 to 2021 (Eurostat)

Where is the population declining?

On the other hand, 18 EU countries had negative rates of natural change, with deaths outnumbering births in 2021.

Ten of these recorded a population decline. In Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia population declined due to a negative natural change, while net migration was slightly positive.

In Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia, the decrease was both by negative natural change and negative net migration.

READ ALSO: Italian class sizes set to shrink as population falls further

The largest fall in population was reported in Italy, which lost over a quarter of a million (-253,100).

The most significant negative natural change was in Bulgaria (-13.1 per 1,000 persons), Latvia (-9.1), Lithuania (-8.7) and Romania (-8.2). On a proportional basis, Croatia and Bulgaria recorded the biggest population decline (-33.1 per 1,000 persons).

How is the EU responding to demographic change?

From 354.5 million in 1960, the EU population grew to 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, an increase of 92.3 million. If the growth was about 3 million persons per year in the 1960s, it slowed to about 0.7 million per year on average between 2005 and 2022, according to Eurostat.

The natural change was positive until 2011 and turned negative in 2012 when net migration became the key factor for population growth. However, in 2020 and 2021, this no longer compensated for natural change and led to a decline.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Over time, says Eurostat, the negative natural change is expected to continue given the ageing of the population if the fertility rate (total number of children born to each woman) remains low.

This poses questions for the future of the labour market and social security services, such as pensions and healthcare.

The European Commission estimates that by 2070, 30.3 per cent of the EU population will be 65 or over compared to 20.3 per cent in 2019, and 13.2 per cent is projected to be 80 or older compared to 5.8 per cent in 2019.

The number of people needing long-term care is expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2016 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 30.5 million in 2050.

READ ALSO: How foreigners are changing Switzerland

However, demographic change impacts different countries and often regions within the same country differently.

When she took on the Presidency of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen appointed Dubravka Šuica, a Croatian politician, as Commissioner for Democracy and Demography to deal with these changes.

Among measures in the discussion, in January 2021, the Commission launched a debate on Europe’s ageing society, suggesting steps for higher labour market participation, including more equality between women and men and longer working lives.

In April, the Commission proposed measures to make Europe more attractive for foreign workers, including simplifying rules for non-EU nationals who live on a long-term basis in the EU. These will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

In the fourth quarter of this year, the Commission also plans to present a communication on dealing with ‘brain drain’ and mitigate the challenges associated with population decline in regions with low birth rates and high net emigration.

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.