Highly qualified workers will be able to come to Sweden more quickly

Better service to employers who hire highly qualified workers will reduce processing times at the Swedish Migration Agency and thus contribute to a competitive Sweden.

In the budget and policy specification for 2023, the Swedish Migration Agency received a mandate to promote highly qualified labour immigration. In order to fulfil this task and to overhaul the entire work permit process, the Swedish Migration Agency has decided to introduce a new model for handling work permit cases and to establish international recruitment units. 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.

"A well-functioning process for labour immigration is important for companies to be able to recruit, grow and invest in Sweden", says Mikael Ribbenvik, Director-General of the Swedish Migration Agency.

Better service

To support employers in establishing themselves and recruiting labour, the Swedish Migration Agency will provide better service to those who employ highly qualified workers and thus contribute to a competitive Sweden.

“We will make communication investments as needed, and service teams will support companies and employers in, the recruitment of highly qualified workers and major new establishments, among other things,” says Mikael Ribbenvik.

Processing within 30 days

Once the new model is implemented, a complete application for a work permit for highly qualified workers will receive a decision within 30 days.

"Helping these employers to make a complete application will reduce the processing time. It will be easier for the employer to contact us and get support in the process", says Mikael Ribbenvik.

Under the new model, work permit cases will be divided into four different categories, based on occupation and industry.

"The new model means a greater focus on the employer’s ability to bring highly qualified workers to Sweden. New international recruitment units will exclusively handle and provide service to the employers who recruit this group", says Mikael Ribbenvik.

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.

The introduction of the new model is planned for the end of 2023. A working group is being created for dialogue with the business community on the introduction of the new model.

The new model

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.