Changes related to work permits

The Swedish Migration Agency has been tasked with promoting highly qualified labour immigration. That is why we are currently working on improving our service in the area of work permits.

The Swedish Migra­tion Agency shall promote the recruit­ment of highly quali­fied labour

In the budget and policy specification for 2023, the Swedish Migration Agency was commissioned by the government to promote highly qualified labour immigration. This will be done, among other things, through special information initiatives aimed at employers and employees in highly qualified occupations, as well as other initiatives that create good conditions for complete applications and shorter processing times.

To fulfil this mission, work is underway in several areas:

  • A new way to sort work permit applications.
  • Improved service for employers who recruit highly qualified labour.
  • Better information and more user-friendly e-services.

New sorting for better service and shorter proces­sing times

In order to be able to prioritise service to employers who recruit highly qualified labour, the Swedish Migration Agency is introducing a new way of sorting applications for work permits based on occupation and industry. It will also be easier to distinguish at an early stage between applications that are ready for decision and those that need to be supplemented.

The new way of working does not affect the requirements for obtaining a work permit, but is a way to offer employers who recruit highly qualified workers extra service, and also to create the conditions for making quick decisions in complete applications for highly qualified applicants.

Applications from highly qualified workers that do not need to be supplemented are handled within 30 days.

Once the certification ends, service work can be focused on employers who recruit highly skilled workers

As we have previously reported, the certification system will be terminated because it no longer fulfils its original purpose. Over the years, the system has grown so large that it has come to include a large number of applications that should not be prioritised according to the Swedish Migration Agency's mission to promote the recruitment of highly qualified labour.

Many employers with a recurring need to recruit highly qualified workers have received appreciated service and quick decisions through the certification system. These employers will continue to benefit from special information activities.

The certification closes completely on December 15, and in January we will provide more information about what the new service offer will be like.

When defining the concept of highly qualified labour, the Swedish Migration Agency has based its definition of highly qualified labour on the definition of highly qualified in the standard for the Swedish Classification of Occupations, so-called SSYK codes. The codes used to distinguish highly qualified workers based on occupational areas are SSYK codes 1-3 (SSYK 2012)

  1. Managerial occupations
  2. Occupations that require advanced higher education qualifications
  3. Occupations with a requirement for higher education qualifications or equivalent.

The extra service for employers who recruit highly qualified labour does not apply to employers in industries where the Swedish Migration Agency applies higher investigative requirements to counteract fraud and human exploitation. Companies that are newly started and have been active for less than 12 months will also not be offered extra services, even if they recruit highly qualified workers.

Read more about which industries have stricter investigation requirements

Easier to make a complete application

In order for all employees and employers to have access to good information and good conditions to make a complete application, ongoing work is underway to develop the e-service for applying for work permits. One of the goals of this work is to increase user-friendliness in the form of better language and guidance. At the same time we are reviewing the information on the Swedish Migration Agency's website. This results in a number of ongoing changes and updates that together should provide a more user-friendly experience for all applicants.

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.

The deadline to submit an application for a work permit as a certified employer is 14 December. After that, the certification system closes completely, there is no longer a fast track for certified operators.

Applications regarding highly qualified labour are handled within 30 days if the application is complete. This applies to both first-time applications and extension applications.

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 visits a diplomatic mission abroad to show their passport as soon as the Swedish Migration Agency asks them to do so.

The new work model is now being developed and tested and will be formally introduced in January 2024.

As an employer, you will be offered service in relation to the recruitment situation you are in. We are currently developing the new service offer and will provide more information in January of 2024.

If you need support before recruiting highly qualified labour, you can describe your need for recruitment in a web form and the Swedish Migration Agency will contact you.

Read more about support for international recruitment of highly qualified workers

If you have questions about the recruitment of other occupations, you can always contact the Swedish Migration Agency's contact centre via email and telephone.

Contact us

In the past, the possibility 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 system 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.

Highly skilled workers are defined as occupations with SSYK code 1, 2 or 3. Exceptions are sectors where the Swedish Migration Agency can see an extra need for investigation.

In terms of the application process and requirements for being granted a work permit, the new system does not entail any changes for the jobseeker. However, this new way of working aims to shorten the processing time for highly qualified workers, which can be a positive change for the applicant.

We will continue to handle your application in the same way as before, and you can expect approximately the same processing time as in the certification process.

For service, we refer employers who need support before recruiting highly qualified labour to a contact form where you can describe your recruitment, and the Swedish Migration Agency will contact you.

Contact form for support in recruiting highly qualified labour

If you have questions about the recruitment of other professional categories, you can always contact the Swedish Migration Agency’s Contact Centre via email and telephone.

Contact us

Between 15 December and 29 January, we will focus on finalizing our new way of working, but we are already sorting cases by profession and industry. During this the transition period, i.e. between 15 December and 29 January, our ambition is to handle complete application for highly qualified labour, within 30 days.

The goal is to handle other applications within the time set by the regulation.

Other changes related to work permits

On 1 November, the maintenance requirement for applicants who are applying for a work permit in Sweden was increased. In order to obtain a work permit, a salary of at least SEK 27,360 is required, which is 80 percent of today's median salary.

Read more about increased maintenance requirement for work permits

Last updated: