Sweden Introduces New Work Permit Process

The Swedish Migration Agency has decided to introduce a new model for handling work permit-related matters. It is also establishing units for international recruitment. In particular, the new model promotes the recruitment of employers seeking to hire highly qualified workers from outside the EU, but it also aims to shorten the processing time for all labour market cases. The new model will be introduced in January 2024.

What to Expect
  • With the new model, the Swedish Migration Agency aims to provide better service to employers of highly qualified workers, with dedicated staff and an improved online service.
  • A complete application for a work permit for a highly-qualified worker should receive a decision within 30 days.
  • For other categories, the aim is that decisions should always be made within four months.

The new international recruitment units will replace the certification system, which is currently used for handling work permit cases, which will be phased out.

The new model includes four categories:

  • Category A covers work permit applications for highly qualified occupations. The term “highly qualified” is defined in the Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations (SSYK). In Category A, it applies to the three occupational areas: managerial occupations, occupations with requirements for advanced university competence, and occupations with requirements for higher education competence or equivalent. This category will be the agency’s way of replacing the current certification system. The ambition is that complete applications for highly qualified workers will be processed within 30 days.
  • Category B covers applications for work permits in occupations with specific rules, such as seasonal occupations, berry pickers, intra-corporate transferees (ICT), permits under the EU Blue Card Directive, artists, researchers, athletes/coaches, au-pairs, trainees, youth exchange agreements, and volunteers. It also covers applications to start business activities and so-called “track changers” from asylum cases.
  • Category C covers occupations that do not require a higher level of academic competence, i.e., non-highly qualified occupations in sectors that do not require a particularly high level of case investigation. This category includes, e.g., occupations that constitute an important social benefit, even if they do not meet the criteria for being classified as highly qualified. Applications for major new establishments in growth areas also fall into this category.
  • Category D includes work permit applications for employment in industries that the Swedish Migration Agency defines as particularly demanding in terms of case investigation, including cleaning, construction, personal assistance, and hotels and restaurants.

The deadline to submit new applications to become a certified employer was May 31, 2023, but no deadline has yet been established for existing certified employers to submit work permit applications.

Erickson Insights and Analysis

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.