How the increased maintenance requirement affects work permit applicants
The Government has decided to increase the maintenance requirement for labour migrants, from the current amount of SEK 13,000 to SEK 27,360 per month. The new requirement applies from 1 November.
“This will primarily affect people working with service, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, fishing, and occupations that demand a shorter education or introduction. As a rule, the salary earned by employees in these groups falls below the new maintenance requirement,” Says Carl Bexelius, Director of Legal Affairs at the Swedish Migration Agency.
The Government’s decision means that a good income for a labour migrant has been determined to be a salary of at least 80 per cent of the median salary that Statistics Sweden (SCB) publishes for Sweden each year. The maintenance requirement for labour migrants will thus be increased, from the current amount of SEK 13,000 to SEK 27,360 per month. This amount will change annually, when Statistics Sweden publishes a new median salary.
”According to the Government, the purpose of an increased maintenance requirement is to strengthen the position of labour migrants in the labour market and counteract competition with low wages,” says Carl Bexelius, Director of Legal Affairs at the Swedish Migration Agency.
The application date determines the requirement
It is the latest median salary published at the time of application that applies at the time of its examination. It is thus the application date that will regulate which median salary is to be applied when calculating what constitutes a good income.
If a work permit is granted, it is the level of good income at the time of application that will apply for the entire permit period, even if Statistics Sweden updates the median salary during the granted permit period. But the salary must still be in line with collective agreements or practices in the relevant profession or industry.
“If the salary guaranteed under a collective agreement exceeds 80 percent of the median salary, it is the salary stipulated in the collective agreement that applies. If the salary under the collective agreement is lower, the employee must still earn a good income,” says Carl Bexelius.
When applying for an extension of a work permit, the salary must reach 80 per cent of the median salary at the time of application or be in line with collective agreements or practices in the relevant profession or industry.
No transitional rules
There are no transitional rules, which means that everyone who applies for a permit after 1 November must have a salary of at least SEK 27,360 per month. This applies regardless of whether the employee works full-time or part-time.
For an application received before 1 November, the median salary in force at the time of the application is the basis for calculation.
“For example, if the application was received on 1 January 2023, the Swedish Migration Agency bases its assessment on the median salary that was published at the time of the application. In this case, that would be the median salary for 2021, or SEK 26,560 per month,” says Carl Bexelius.
The median salary is published annually by Statistics Sweden and refers to the previous year’s salaries. In other words, the 2023 median salary is calculated based on the salaries for 2022.
For employees who have been granted a work permit before the new maintenance requirement comes into force and whose permit extends further into the future, the same maintenance requirement as when the decision was made continue to apply, i.e., SEK 13,000 per month.
“But the salary must still be in line with the collective agreement or practices in the relevant profession or industry. It is only in connection with an application for an extended work permit that the requirement for good income must be met in order for the work permit to be extended,” explains Carl Bexelius.
The occupational areas that will be most affected by the higher maintenance requirement are service, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, fishing, and occupations that demand a shorter education or introduction. As a rule, the salary earned by employees in these groups falls below the new maintenance requirement.
According to the statistics of the Swedish Migration Agency, approximately every fourth employee earns less than the salary requirement.
Exempt from the salary requirement
Employees who are exempt from the new requirement include those exercising their right to freedom of movement (citizens of the EU/EEA and family members of such citizens), people who have or are applying for an EU Blue Card, those who have or are applying for an ICT permit, and seasonal workers.
Professional coaches and athletes, au pairs, trainees within the framework of international exchange or trainees with traineeships related to higher education, and researchers will not be subject to the new requirement.
More information, examples of how the new requirement is applied, and questions and answers can be found on the page Increased maintenance requirements for work permits.