Your responsibilities as an employer
If you employ a person who is a citizen of a non-EU country, you have to check that that person has the right to be in Sweden and to work for you. You also have to inform the Swedish Tax Agency that you have employed the person.
The requirement to check the right to be and work in Sweden and to inform the Swedish Tax Agency does not apply when you employ persons who are citizens of a country in the EU or EEA or of Switzerland. Nor does it apply to their family members, whatever nationality the family member has.
Check the right to be and work in Sweden
To check whether someone has the right to be and work in Sweden, you can, as an employer, ask the person who is going to work for you to bring a document showing this. This can, for example, be:
- a residence permit card
- a copy of a residence and work permit decision from the Swedish Migration Agency
- an LMA card.
Residence permit card
Everyone who is given a work and residence permit for longer than three months receives a residence permit card (UT card). On the card, there will be information stating if the permit is temporary and, if so, how long the permit is valid for.
For a person to be able to work in Sweden, the card has to contain the text:
- temporary residence and work permit, or
- residence permit bearing the text “Allowed to work” (Får arbeta), or
- permanent residence permit.
If the permit is temporary, you must check how long the permit is valid for. Also check any restrictions to a particular occupation (type of work) or employer under the text “Notes" (Anmärkningar) on the card.
A person who has a work permit with restrictions may only work in the occupation and for the employer stated on their residence permit card. If the person is going to work for you, they need to apply for a new work permit if their permit is not valid for the new employment.
As a check of their right to be and work in Sweden, the worker should be able to present their old residence permit card and the notice from the Swedish Migration Agency that their application has been received.
Copy of a decision
If the worker is not able to present a residence permit card, you should ask to see a copy of their residence or work permit decision from the Swedish Migration Agency. That decision contains information about how long the permit is valid and whether the person is allowed to work.
Note that everyone who has a residence permit for more than three months is able to get a residence permit card. If the person has not collected their card or has lost it, they should contact the Swedish Migration Agency to get a new card.
No residence permit is needed to be in Sweden for less than three months. However, citizens of certain countries need a visa. A visa gives a person the right to be in Sweden, but they are not allowed to work without a work permit. A person who can be in Sweden for three months without a visa is not allowed to work without a work permit. The worker must be able to present a copy of a work permit decision from the Swedish Migration Agency or a Swedish embassy as proof that they are allowed to work. That decision will have information about how long the permit is valid and whether there are any restrictions.
For shorter jobs, however, there may be exemptions, that is, some persons may not need a work permit.
In some cases, an asylum seeker may be exempt from the work permit requirement during their waiting period. This means the person can work without a work permit during their waiting period. In that case, their LMA card will have the text AT-UND. The person then has the right to work in any occupation. The same applies for a person who has applied for asylum and been given a temporary residence and work permit.
An asylum seeker who has had permission to work during the waiting period but has had his or her application for asylum turned down, and who has instead applied for a work permit, will receive a letter from the Swedish Migration Agency that confirms that the application has been submitted. If you have seen the letter that confirms that the application for a work permit has been submitted, you do not need to continuously check the right to work until a decision is made. Once the Migration Agency has made a decision, you, being the employer, will receive a copy of the front page of the decision that states whether or not a work permit has been granted.
If you are uncertain as to whether a person is entitled to work for you, you are welcome to contact the Swedish Migration Agency.
Read more about checking a person’s right to be and work in Sweden in the Swedish Migration Agency’s general advice to employers.
Other permits that give a person the right to work
Permanent residence permit
A person with a permanent residence and work permit (PUT) has the right to work in any occupation.
A person may be given a temporary residence and work permit for different reasons. The right to work varies depending on why the person has been given the temporary permit. This means that it is not certain that the person you would like to hire has the right to work for you even if they can present a valid residence and work permit. Information about the grounds for the permit and whether there are any restrictions linked to the person’s right to work in Sweden will be stated in the decision the person was given from the Swedish Migration Agency.
A person who has a temporary residence and work permit on account of family ties has the right to work in any occupation.
A student with a residence permit for higher education studies has the right to work in any occupation alongside their studies for as long as their residence permit is valid. The student does not need to apply for a separate work permit. The same rules apply to visiting researchers who have a residence permit for research.
There are special rules that apply for a person who has been given a residence and work permit for a specific job in Sweden but who now wants to change jobs.
The right to start working after an application has been submitted
A person who has had a temporary permit for at least six months for work, higher education studies or because of family ties has the right to continue to work once their application has been submitted. However, this is on condition that the person applies for a new permit before their existing permit expires. If the person wants to start to work for a different employer, a new application must be submitted before their existing permit expires and latest the same day the new job starts. If the Swedish Migration Agency decides not to grant a further permit, the worker is still entitled to continue working until the expulsion order has gained legal force.
Notify the Swedish Tax Agency
Employers notify the Swedish Tax Agency by providing information such as the name, address and period of employment of the person to be hired on a form called SKV 1160.
You must save copies of the worker's documents showing their right to be and work in Sweden. These documents must be saved throughout the period of their employment and for 12 months after the end of their employment.
Discrimination is forbidden
No person may be discriminated against in working life on account of, for example, their nationality, ethnic background or their colour. The employer should be aware that checking workers must not be done in a discriminatory way. To avoid discrimination, the employer should therefore not decide to check the right of a worker to be and work in Sweden solely on the basis of the worker's ethnic origin, colour or language skills.
Important information about sanctions against employers
On 1 August 2013, an EU directive was introduced which implies that an employer or contractor who deliberately or through negligence (carelessness) employs someone who does not have the right to be or work in Sweden may be obligated to pay a fee, may lose rights to government support, grants or benefits for five years, may have to pay back any grants previously paid out, and/or may be fined or given a prison sentence.