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WORKING IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: What do we know so far about Sweden’s new ‘talent visa’?

In the new work permit law which comes into force on June 1st, Sweden is launching a new nine-month 'talent visa', which will allow “some highly qualified individuals” to get temporary residency while they look for jobs or plan to launch a business. What do we know so far?

EXPLAINED: What do we know so far about Sweden's new 'talent visa'?
Jasmeet Singh Sethi (left) and his colleague Samidha Mahapatra, two IT technicians who have come to Sweden to work for Ericsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

When was the law passed and when does it come into force? 

The parliament passed the new law on April 21st, and the final text of the change in the law was published on May 5th. It will come into force on June 1st. 

What does the new law say about the ‘talent visa’? 

It says that “in certain cases”, a temporary residency permit can be granted to a foreigner who wants to “spend time in the country to look for work or to look into the possibility of starting a business”. 

To qualify the applicant must: 

  • have completed studies equivalent to an advanced level degree 
  • have sufficient means to support themselves during their stay and to cover the cost of their return trip 
  • have fully comprehensive health insurance which is valid in Sweden 

How long can people initially stay in Sweden under the talent visa? 

The residency permit will be valid for a maximum of nine months.

Which agency will assess applications for the talent visa? 

The government has decided that applications should be assessed by the Migration Agency. The Migration Agency will publish more details on the requirements, such as what qualifies as an advanced degree, what documents need to be submitted, and how much capital applicants will need to show they can support themselves, in the coming weeks. 

The Migration Agency is also likely to develop a form for those wishing to apply for the talent visa. 

What level of education is necessary? 

What is meant by an “advanced degree” has not been set ou in the law, but according to Karl Rahm, who has helped draw up the law within the Ministry of Justice, a master’s degree (MA or MSc), should be sufficient. 

How much capital will applicants need to show that they have? 

According to Rahm, the amount of money applicants will need to show that they have is likely to be set at the same level as the minimum salary for those applying for a work permit, which is currently 13,000 kronor a month. If he is right, this means that someone applying for a nine-month visa would have to show that they have 117,000 kronor (€11,259) in saved capital, plus extra for their trip back to their home country.

READ ALSO: How will the new work permit law just passed in Sweden affect foreigners?

Can applicants bring children and spouses? 

“You will not be able to bring your family with this kind of visa, since the idea is that it’s for a relatively limited amount of time,  just to see if there is employment for you, or if there is a chance of starting a business,” says Elin Jansson, deputy director at the Ministry of Justice, who helped work on the new visa. “And if you do decide to stay in Sweden, then you apply for a regular work permit for starting up a business, and then you can bring your family.” 

Where will detailed information on the requirements for a talent visa be published? 

The Migration Agency will publish detailed requirements on the talent visa on its Working in Sweden page when the law starts to apply on June 1st. 

What is the reason for the talent visa? 

Those searching for a job or researching starting a new business in Sweden can already stay for up to 90 days with a normal Schengen visa. The idea behind the talent visa is to give highly educated foreigners a little longer to decide if they want to find a job or set up a business in the country before they need to go the whole way and launch a company. 

How many people are expected to apply? 

In the government inquiry on the new work permit law, experts estimated that about 500 people would apply for the new talent visa each year, but it could end up being either much more, or less. 

“It’s really hard to tell. There could be a really big demand. I don’t think it’s anyone can really say before this comes into effect,” Jansson said. 

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WORK PERMITS

What do we know about labour market tests for Swedish work permits?

Sweden's government has called for a reintroduction of labour market tests for work permits, a system where labour migration from non-EU countries is limited to jobs where there a a recognised shortage of labour. Here's what we know about the proposal so far.

What do we know about labour market tests for Swedish work permits?

What is a labour market test?

A labour market test is, essentially, a test to make sure that companies wishing to hire non-EU citizens in Sweden can only do so if there is a lack of domestic labour to fill the position.

Neighbouring Denmark has had a similar system, dubbed the Positive List, for a number of years, which is updated twice a year and comprises two lists: one for people with a higher education and one for other skilled workers.

What kind of jobs will be covered?

Jobs where there is a labour shortage will be covered. This will most likely include a range of jobs, such as healthcare roles like doctors, nurses, and midwives, as well as IT positions like system developers and computer programmers, alongside positions which don’t require university studies such as CNC operators, mechanics and roles in the construction industry.

This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it confirmed that these jobs will definitely be eligible for work permits under the new system, but more an idea of illustrating the range of positions which could be covered under this new system.

Who will be affected?

This will affect non-EU, non-Nordic migrants wanting to move to Sweden on a work permit. EU migrants and Nordic migrants are subject to different work permit laws, which will be unaffected.

It will also not affect non-EU, non-Nordic migrants who move to Sweden for other reasons, such as those who have residency in Sweden as family members of an EU, Nordic or Swedish citizen. Again, these migrants are subject to different work permit laws.

When will this come into effect?

It’s hard to say.

It is likely that it will take at least a year, perhaps longer, for the new work permit proposal to come into force.

This is due to the length of the process a proposal must go through before it is formally introduced.

The proposal is currently in the first stage, where the government launches an inquiry, or utredning, into how to introduce a labour shortage test for work permits in Sweden and what that possible system could look like. The deadline for this stage is July 31st 2023.

After the results of this inquiry are announced, the government will send the proposal out for consultation from the relevant authorities. A bill, taking these responses into account, will then be submitted to parliament. This could take months or even years, meaning that the proposal would not become law until at least a year from now, at the earliest.

Who decides which jobs will be available under the system?

Again, it’s not clear, as the proposal hasn’t been written yet. The utredning will shed more light on this, but politicians have suggested in the past that the system could be dependent on unions, employers, and other authorities confirming that they lack staff in the profession in question.

This means that it’s unlikely individual employers will be able to hire whoever they want, unless unions and other authorities also agree that there’s a shortage of labour for the position in question.

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