Changes related to work permits

Here you will find information about current and upcoming changes related to work permits. If you are planning to hire someone from a country outside the EU, you can access information relevant to your recruitment, learn about what requirements are imposed, and read news related to the subject.

New model for work permits

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 this means for employers overall

Better service

With the new model, the Swedish Migration Agency will provide better service to employers of highly qualified workers. Among other things, the new service means that there will be staff from the Swedish Migration Agency whose task it is to support companies and employers in the recruitment of highly qualified workers, as well as with major new establishments. It should be easy for employers to contact us and receive support in your recruitment process.

Do you want support for recruiting managers, university graduates and researchers? Then contact our experts via this contact form.

Easier to apply

As the new model is gradually introduced, it will become easier for employers to submit a complete application via an improved e-service for work permits. The digital application process should be easy to understand, with a clear e-service and guidance on

Shorter proces­sing time

The improved service and development of the Swedish Migration Agency’s digital services will make it easy to submit a complete application, which is a prerequisite for shortening the processing time. Once the new model is implemented, a complete application for a work permit for highly qualified workers will receive a decision within 30 days.

New units for inter­na­tional recruit­ment – phase-out of certi­fi­ca­tion

New international recruitment units will exclusively handle and provide service to the employers who recruit members of this group. The new international recruitment units will replace the current certification process, which already handles a large portion of all work permit applications for highly qualified professions. This means that the certification system will be phased out.

There is currently a certification system for handling work permit cases. The system has grown too expansive and no longer fulfils its original purpose. The new model will replace the certification system, which will be phased out. The model will also provide better service to employers who hire highly qualified workers and shorten processing times. The 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.

Questions and answers about the work permit-related changes

The Swedish Migration Agency has been commissioned by the government to promote the international recruitment of highly qualified workers in order to safeguard a competitive Sweden. A well-functioning process for labour immigration is important for companies to be able to recruit, grow and invest in Sweden. It should be easy to apply, and the processing needs to be short and predictable.

No; the deadline to submit new applications was 31 May 2023. However, for the time being, employers that have already been certified will continue to be able to submit applications to represent new subsidiaries.

A decision regarding a specific date has yet to be made.

For employers that recruit highly qualified workers, the goal is for the applicant to receive a decision within 30 days, provided that the application is complete.

For other categories, the objective is that decisions must always be made within the time stated in the regulation.

The Swedish Migration Agency’s goal of issuing decisions about highly qualified workers within 30 days means that the presentation of a passport must be included in that timeframe, so this requirement should not mean that it takes longer to get a decision. However, it is important that the applicant visit the Swedish mission abroad responsible for verifying the applicant’s passport as soon as they have submitted their application.

The Swedish Migration Agency is aiming to have introduced the new model by the turn of the year 2023/2024.

In the new model, employers are offered different levels of service, depending on your recruitment situation and which of the four categories you belong to.

You can always contact the Swedish Migration Agency’s Contact Centre by email and phone. The Swedish Migration Agency has also developed and launched a form for employers, which you can use to ask questions prior to conducting a recruitment.

You can find the contact form here.

In the past, the opportunity to become certified was available to all employers regardless of industry. As a result, about 40 percent of all work permit cases were eventually included in the certification process. The purpose of certification - to act as a “fast track” - was therefore lost. The previous system is now being replaced by a model in which your current recruitment situation determines what service you can receive and the length of the processing time you and your recruited new hire can expect.

In addition, against the background of a new political approach focusing on qualified labour for a competitive Sweden, the Swedish Migration Agency has, been tasked with promoting highly qualified labour immigration.

This depends on which SNI and SSYK code you have. The new model is still being developed, and we will have more information about this later.

In terms of the application process and requirements for being granted a work permit, the new model does not entail any changes for the jobseeker. On the other hand, the new model aims to shorten the processing time for highly qualified workers and other essential professions, which can be a positive change for the applicant.

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