Working while you are an asylum seeker

You will need to support yourself while you are waiting for your asylum application to be processed. You can do this either by using money you have saved or by working. Even if you cannot get employment, you can get practical experience without pay with companies and organisations.

In order to have the right to work while you are an asylum seeker, you must have a certificate (AT-UND) stating that you are exempted from the requirement to have a work permit.

Conditions for working as an asylum seeker

You are exempted from the requirement to have a work permit if you fulfil the following conditions:

  • You provide proper identity papers or in some other way help to prove your identity.
  • Your application is to be considered in Sweden.
  • There are solid reasons for your application for asylum. You will not be granted AT-UND if you have been issued a refusal of entry with immediate effect.

The country which examines your application is decided in accordance with the Dublin Regulation

Information about refusal of entry with immediate effect

If you fulfil the conditions above, you will receive an Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort) stating that you have AT-UND. This means that you are exempt from the requirement for a work permit. Your AT-UND status normally lasts until either you are granted a residence permit or until you leave the country. Contact your reception unit if you are not sure whether you have AT-UND.

Learn more about the Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort)

If you have AT-UND, you can contact the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) in the town where you live in order to see what job vacancies there are.

You can read about job vacancies and find other information on the Arbetsförmedlingens websiteexternal link, opens in new window

If you get a job while you are an asylum seeker

If you get a job while you are an asylum seeker, you must show your employer proof that you are exempt from the requirement for a work permit (AT-UND). This proof is given under Item 7 on your Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort).

Your employer must inform the reception unit where you are registered that you have a job. Your employer must also inform the reception unit when the job ends. Notification that you have been given a job must be made using a special form, number 152011.

Notification of employment of an asylum seeker, form number 152011 (only available in Swedish)PDF

If you have a daily allowance (dagersättning), you must always report your income to the Migration Agency. You must also contact the Swedish Tax Agency to be given a coordination number. The coordination number is for those of you who do not have a personal identity number; you need it to be able to pay taxes when you work. You will also need the coordination number to be able to receive sickness benefits if you become sick and cannot go to work.

Contact the Swedish Tax Agency for more informationexternal link, opens in new window

Work placement while you are an asylum seeker

Work practice at a company will show you what working life in Sweden is like and it can be a good way to learn Swedish. It may also help you to learn about a new kind of job or to improve your skills at a job you are already familiar with. This might be useful to you if you are granted a residence permit in Sweden or even if you return to your country of origin.

Before you can start doing a work placement, the Migration Agency must approve the workplace and sign an agreement with the employer. This is so that you can receive advice and support. It also means that you will be insured if anything happens to you at the workplace.

During your time doing a work placement, you will have the right to visit the Migration Agency,visit your public counsel or stay home if you are sick or have to care for a sick child. You will not receive any pay for doing a work placement.

If you have any questions about work practice or if you want to start doing a work placement, you should contact the Reception Unit where you are registered.

If you have received a refusal or deportation decision

You must not continue your work placement if you have received a refusal or deportation decision, or if the deadline for voluntary departure has expired.

You may keep your AT-UND as long as you cooperate in leaving the country. If you do not cooperate in leaving the country, your AT-UND becomes invalid, and the Migration Agency will inform your employer that you are no longer permitted to work.

If your asylum application is rejected

If you worked while you were waiting for a decision on your application for asylum, you can apply for a work permit if your application is rejected.

Learn more about what you need in order to apply for a work permit after your asylum application has been rejected

Last updated: 8 June 2016