The new maintenance requirement for work permits is now in force
As of 1 November, a new maintenance requirement applies to labour migrants. From SEK 13,000 to SEK 27,360. To meet the maintenance requirement, a labour migrant must earn at least 80 per cent of the current median salary. According to the Government, the purpose of a higher maintenance requirement is to strengthen the position of labour migrants in the labour market and counteract competition with low wages.
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 in June of each year.
The maintenance requirement for labour immigrants has therefore been raised, from the previous amount of SEK 13,000 to SEK 27,360, which is 80 per cent of the median salary.
The monthly salary must also be in line with collective agreements or practices in the relevant profession or industry.
“A salary that’s in line with collective agreements or practices in the relevant profession or industry may still fall short of the maintenance requirement. In such cases, the monthly salary must total at least 80 per cent of the median salary in force at the time of application in order for a work permit to be granted. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full-time or part-time position,” says Anna Lindblad, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs at the Swedish Migration Agency.
Applicants for an extended work permit are affected
A person who has an ongoing work permit is only affected when they apply for an extended residence permit.
“If someone has been granted a work permit before 1 November, the same maintenance requirement as when the permit was granted – SEK 13,000 – applies the remainder of the permit period. It’s only when they apply for an extended work permit that they need to meet the new requirement for good income,” explains Anna Lindblad.
According to the statistics of the Swedish Migration Agency, approximately every fourth employee earns less than the salary requirement.
“We understand that this may make things tough for people who are applying for an extended permit and are already in the country. But to get a residence permit on the basis of work, the Government has decided that you must meet the requirement to earn a good income,” says Anna Lindblad.
The Swedish Migration Agency will conduct follow-up checks
The Swedish Migration Agency will conduct follow-ups to check if the requirements for a work permit are still met. The follow-up checks will be carried out in the industries in which the Swedish Migration Agency sees indications that the regulations are being abused. One such indicator may be that although a certain monthly salary meets the maintenance requirement, it significantly exceeds the level or practice stipulated in the collective agreement for the profession or industry.
“There’s a risk that unscrupulous employers could report a salary that appears to meet the requirement, but actually pay a much lower amount. That’s something the agency now needs to check,” says Anna Lindblad, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs at the Swedish Migration Agency.
Facts about the new maintenance requirement
Applies to residence permits on the basis of work
The new requirement to earn a good income applies to residence permits granted on the basis of work, i.e., in cases in which someone from a country outside the EU/EEA comes to Sweden to work.
For example, this means that people who apply for or have already been granted a residence permit on the basis of protection, close family ties, or studies are not affected by the increased maintenance requirement, nor are those covered by the Temporary Protection Directive or the Upper Secondary School Act. EU/EEA citizens and long-term residents who exercise their freedom of movement are also unaffected.
Individuals who meet all the requirements for a permanent residence permit are exempt, too.
On the other hand, the new requirement to earn a good income does apply to people who make a so-called “change of tracks”, e.g., when someone who has had their asylum application rejected applies for a work permit instead.
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.
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.
People who possess or are applying for an EU Blue Card or ICT permit, as well as seasonal workers, are also unaffected.
Number of active* work permits: 63,477
Number of active* work permits with salaries below SEK 27,360: 14,991
*The Swedish Migration Agency’s task is to examine the application and then approve or reject it. The Swedish Migration Agency cannot see whether a person who has been granted a residence and work permit subsequently chooses to come to Sweden. Moreover, permit holders are not obliged to notify the Swedish Migration Agency if they leave the country before their permit expires. This means that the number of active work permits is not the same as the number of permit holders actually in the country; the Swedish Migration Agency has no way of determining that.
Number of active work permits
Berry pickers and planters, etc.
Restaurant and kitchen helpers, etc.
Cooks and cold buffet workers
Pizza bakers, etc.