Working while you are an asylum seeker

You will need to support yourself while you are waiting for your asylum application to be processed. You can do this either by using money you have saved or by working.

In order to have the right to work while you are an asylum seeker, you must have a certificate (AT-UND) stating that you are exempted from the requirement to have a work permit.

Conditions for working as an asylum seeker

You are exempted from the requirement to have a work permit if you fulfil the following conditions:

  • You provide proper identity papers or in some other way help to prove your identity.
  • Your application is to be considered in Sweden.
  • There are solid reasons for your application for asylum. You will not be granted AT-UND if you have been issued a refusal of entry with immediate effect.

The country which examines your application is decided in accordance with the Dublin Regulation

Information about refusal of entry with immediate effect

If you fulfil the conditions above, you will receive an Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort) stating that you have AT-UND. This means that you are exempt from the requirement for a work permit. Your AT-UND status normally lasts until either you are granted a residence permit or until you leave the country. Contact your reception unit if you are not sure whether you have AT-UND.

Learn more about the Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort)

If you have AT-UND, you can contact the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) to find a job.

You can read about job vacancies and find other information on the Arbetsförmedlingen websiteexternal link, opens in new window

If you get a job while you are an asylum seeker

If you get a job while you are an asylum seeker, you must show your employer proof that you are exempt from the requirement for a work permit (AT-UND). This proof is given under Item 7 on your Asylum Seeker Card (LMA-kort).

Your employer must inform the reception unit where you are registered that you have a job. Your employer must also inform the reception unit when the job ends. Notification that you have been given a job must be made using a special form, number 152011.

Notification of employment or termination of employment of an asylum seeker, form number 152011 (only available in Swedish)PDF

If you have a daily allowance (dagersättning), you must always report your income to the Migration Agency. You must also contact the Swedish Tax Agency to be given a coordination number. The coordination number is for those of you who do not have a personal identity number; you need it to be able to pay taxes when you work. You will also need the coordination number to be able to receive sickness benefits if you become sick and cannot go to work.

Contact the Swedish Tax Agency for more informationexternal link, opens in new window

If you want to open a bank account

It is only the Swedish Migration Agency that can transfer money to the debit card you get from the Swedish Migration Agency. If you want to open a bank account that your employer can transfer your salary to, you must contact a bank. Each bank branch makes its own decision as to whether you meet the requirements to be able to open an account with them.

All banks require you to present identity documents so that they know who you are. The bank itself decides which identity documents they accept. Some banks let asylum seekers open a bank account even though their identity documents are being held by the Swedish Migration Agency. Then you must be able to present a valid Asylum Seeker card (LMA card) and copies of your identity documents on which the Swedish Migration Agency has certified that each is a true copy of the original document. The Swedish Migration Agency does not certify that the identity document is genuine, only that the copy you get matches the original held by us. We cannot give you a copy like that if you have only submitted copies to us.

The bank then contacts the Swedish Migration Agency to check that the information you have given is correct. The Swedish Migration Agency can only confirm the information if you have already consented to this, i.e. if you have signed a document in which you allow the Swedish Migration Agency to talk to the bank about this. If you have not already given that consent to the Swedish Migration Agency, you can contact the reception centre closest to you and say that you want to do so.

Some banks also require you to present a certificate of employment in order to open a bank account. You get the certificate of employment from your employer.

If you are under 18

If you are 16 or older, you need AT-UND to be allowed to work in Sweden. This applies both if you came to Sweden along with your family or if you came as an unaccompanied minor.

If you are under 16, you do not need to have AT-UND for a holiday work placement, simple work or individual tasks. The Migration Agency does not need to approve your employment, but your custodian (or your appointed representative, if you have one) must give their consent to you working.

Bear in mind that not only pay but also other compensation such as a gift voucher, for example, may affect the right to financial assistance from the Migration Agency.

If you have received a refusal or deportation decision

You still have your AT-UND as long as you cooperate to leave the country. If you do not cooperate to leave the country, your AT-UND is no longer valid.

If your asylum application is rejected

If you worked while you were waiting for a decision on your application for asylum, you can apply for a work permit if your application is rejected.

Learn more about what you need in order to apply for a work permit after your asylum application has been rejected

Frequently asked questions and answers about working as an asylum seeker and AT-UND

Last updated: 16 October 2019

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If you wish to ask the Migration Agency a question you can find our contact details under the heading Contact us.