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Frequently asked questions about work permits

Ques­tions and answers about how working in Sweden is affected by the corona virus

As a labour immigrant, you can work less time than planned, as long as your salary follows collective agreements and that you work to a sufficient extent to support yourself. The limit for a person being considered self-sufficient is SEK 13,000 per month before tax (for athletes and coaches it is SEK 14,300 each month). When the Swedish Migration Agency reviews whether these requirements are met, an overall assessment is made. Check with your employer and any trade unions about what conditions apply to your layoff.

You do not need to submit a new application for a residence and work permit if your salary has changed as a result of layoffs.

This may affect the possibility of extension. The Swedish Migration Agency makes an individual assessment in each case.

When you apply for an extended work permit, you will need to show that the terms of employment and the support requirement have been fulfilled during the entire time that you have worked in Sweden. It is important that you indicate in your application if you have been absent from your work and explain why you have been absent.

Yes, you have three months to find a new employment after your previous employment has ended. It is important that you apply for a new work permit within that time.

Your salary still counts even if your employer gets compensation from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) for wage costs according to the new rules regarding short-time working. It means that the Swedish Migration Agency will take into account the salary you received during the short-time work. Note that your salary still has to satisfy the support requirement on SEK 13,000 (for athletes and coaches it is SEK 14,300 each month) and that your salary and the other terms of employment need to be at least on par with those set by the Swedish collective agreements or which is customary within the occupation or industry.

If the Swedish Migration Agency has not yet made a decision in your case, it is possible to postpone the start date for your permit. Notify the Swedish Migration Agency of what changes you want to make to your application.

If you have already received a decision from the Swedish Migration Agency, no changes can be made. You can instead request that the permit be revoked and then re-apply at a later date.

General ques­tions and answers about work permits

Yes, in order to get a work permit you must have a valid passport. You must enclose a copy of your passport with your application.

Read more about what the copy of your passport should look like

Your employer or the client in Sweden starts the application for a work permit by completing an offer of employment. Your employer needs the details of your name, date of birth, citizenship, your education and e-mail address. Your employer then sends the offer of employment to the union organisation that is appropriate for the work you will be carrying out. When the employer receives an opinion, the employer completes the first part of the application. You will then receive an e-mail with instructions for completing your part of the application.

Read more about applying for a work permit

In certain cases, it is not necessary to have an offer of employment. This is the case if you are a visiting researcher, for example. Visiting researchers should instead submit a hosting agreement to the research coordinator (the organisation that hosts the visiting researcher).

Read more about special rules for certain occupations and citizens of certain countries

Yes, you may. If you want someone else to represent you in your case at the Swedish Migration Agency, you can give a power of attorney to that person. A power of attorney may, for example, give someone the right to apply, be informed of the reasons for a decision, or appeal against a decision on your behalf. The power of attorney must be signed by the person who gives their power of attorney to another person, and must be presented in the original if required by the Swedish Migration Agency.

Power of Attorney, form number 107011PDF

Certain people can work in Sweden without a work permit.

Read more about exemptions from the requirement for a work permit

You can submit an application online. The employer initiates the application in most cases.

Read more about how to apply for a work permit

Read more about work permit if you intend to change jobs

You will need to submit your application before your work permit expires. You should not submit your application more than four months before your work permit expires if your application concerns the same employer and profession that you already have a permit for. If you are changing occupation or employer, then it is sometimes necessary to submit an application before your work permit expires.

Read more in the question May I change my occupation or employer without notifying the Swedish Migration Agency?

The new Administrative Procedure Act is for you as an applicant and is intended to make you feel more secure about how government agencies, municipalities and regions are handling your case.

If you feel that the processing of your application is taking too long, you are able, under the Administrative Procedure Act, to send in a written request that the Swedish Migration Agency conclude your case. For you to be able to send in a request to the Swedish Migration Agency, six months must have passed since you sent in your application. Then the Swedish Migration Agency has to either conclude your case or refuse your request within four weeks.

To request that the Swedish Migration Agency conclude your case, you have to fill in the form Request to conclude a case, number 271011, and send it to the Swedish Migration Agency.

Request to conclude a case, number 271011PDF

For the first 24 months, the work permit is only valid for the employer and the job that are specified in your decision. Your work permit will no longer be valid if the company you work for changes its organisation registration number, if you find a new employer or are given new work duties, or if the working conditions change. In this case, you must submit a new application for a work permit.

When you have had the work permit for 24 months and have been given an extension of your work permit, you may change your employer without submitting a new application as long as you work in the same profession. If your new job means you are changing profession, you must submit a new application.

Your previous decision describes the limitations to your work permit.

Read more about work permit if you intend to change jobs

If you do not begin your employment within four months from receiving your work permit, then your work permit should be revoked. This means that you no longer have the right to work in Sweden.

If you have a residence and work permit for work in Sweden, you can run your own company alongside your employment. Your employment must be the main purpose of your stay in Sweden and the conditions for your work permit must be fulfilled. The income from the company will not be taken into account in assessing whether the conditions for the work permit have been met.

If you are a partner in a limited company, you must own at least 50 percent of the shares in order for you to run the company alongside your existing employment. The reason for this is that you can otherwise be regarded as an employee of the company instead of as the owner of the company.

Questions and answers about wages and other employment conditions

To be granted a work permit, you must be offered a wage that is at the level of a Swedish collective agreement or what is normal for the profession or industry. You must also work to such an extent that your wages amount to at least SEK 13,000 a month before tax.

If you are applying for a work permit, you must prove that your wage is in line with current collective agreements or what is customary in your profession or industry.

The Swedish Migration Agency is able to compare your wages with current collective agreements with the opinion from the relevant union that is submitted along with your employment offer.

If your wages are lower than what is specified by current collective agreements, you will need to prove that your wages are in line with what is customary in your profession or industry. You can, for example, submit information or documentation that shows this.

If your basic wage is not sufficient, the Swedish Migration Agency checks if there are other payments or benefits in the offer of employment that should be counted as wages. Pure wage supplements are counted as wages, but paid leave and payment for additional hours or overtime are not counted as wages. Allowances to reimburse personal expenses or other expenses are also counted as wages. However, this does not include payments for short trips in connection with your work. Free accommodation is counted as wages, provided that it is not just free accommodation for work-related travel. Other benefits that are not linked to your work or work-related travel can also be counted as wages. These can be food, travel to and from work, or a car that is used for private purposes.

For the payments or benefits to be counted as wages, these must be specified expressly in the conditions for employment and be regularly recurring. There must also be sufficient information to enable the Swedish Migration Agency to evaluate the payments or benefits that you receive. As the applicant for the work permit, you must show that you receive a payment or benefit that should be counted as wages.

The Swedish Migration Agency has adopted a legal approach to the assessment of whether the wages, including any benefits, are sufficient to meet the requirements for a work permit.

Read about the legal approach, SR 52/2016external link, opens in new window

The Swedish Migration Agency needs to know what occupation you are working in and also what your work duties are. This information is important for the assessment of whether the wages correspond to a collective agreement or what is normal for the profession or industry.

Questions and answers about insurance

You should be covered by insurance policies that are in line with Swedish collective agreements or what is customary for your profession or industry.

In order to have insurance policies that are in line with Swedish collective agreements, you will need to have health insurance and life insurance coverage, workers' compensation insurance and an occupational pension scheme. If your employment is covered by a valid collective agreement, these insurance policies for you will be included in the agreement.

If you have lower-grade insurance coverage, your employer may compensate by giving you (for example) a higher wage, provided that your terms of employment are not worse than what is customary in your profession or industry.

When you apply for a work permit for the first time, your employer must state what insurance policies will be taken out for you.

If applying for an extension, you must state what insurance cover you had during your previous work permit. The Swedish Migration Agency may sometimes make further checks regarding insurance policies taken out. In such cases, the Swedish Migration Agency sends supplementary advice about this.

Your employer must take out insurance policies for you and these must be valid from when you start your job. If you have not been covered by the insurance policies throughout the period of your employment, you must state this in your application and explain why.

Foreign insurance schemes can also be taken out. It is important that the insurance schemes that your employer has taken out are as good as those specified in a collective agreement or what is normal for the profession or industry. Insurance details must be given therefore with the application.

Questions and answers about advertising

When recruiting for new staff, the employer must advertise the post so that all residents of Sweden, the EU/EEA and Switzerland can apply for the job. The requirement for advertising only applies when recruiting new employees. No advertising is required for persons who are employed by an employer abroad and who have been assigned work tasks in Sweden. Nor is it required if an employee is transferred within a group of companies, provided that the post abroad remains.

Read more about how your employer must have advertised your new job

There are certain cases where it is not necessary to advertise the position.

Your employer does not need to advertise the position if the application concerns a job that you have held from before.

If you are employed abroad and coming to work in Sweden as part of an outsourced contract, in a temporary employment agency or as a result of a group or company transfer, then the employer does not need to advertise the position. The reason for this is that the position is one that you already hold. If you become locally employed on a later occasion, then your employer will have to advertise the position at this time.

An employer do not need to advertise a position that is not normally open to the regular labour market. This might include, for example, a position as an imam, priest, senior manager in a company or employee at a foreign state institution.

If the company that you work for changes owner, then this may be constitute a so-called company transfer. This means that the new owner is obliged to take over existing personnel under the existing employment conditions. In such a case, the position does not need to be advertised again.

If you have a work permit which is only restricted by profession, then you can change employer without needing to apply for a new work permit so long as your new job is within the same profession. In such cases, your employer does not need to advertise the position.

If you are already employed by a corporation in another country and will be stationed with the company in Sweden for a certain period of time before then returning to your employment in your country of origin, the post is not required to be advertised. If it is a matter of a new recruitment to a post in Sweden, the post is required to be advertised even if you have been employed in another position within the group. The post must also be advertised if your post is transferred to the company in Sweden.

If you have a work permit which is only restricted by profession, then you can change employer without needing to apply for a new work permit so long as your new job is within the same profession. In such cases, your employer does not need to advertise the position.

No, the requirement for union preference and advertising does not apply in the case of changing employment within the same occupation if you have a work permit for occupation only. Thus the post does not need to be advertised.

When recruiting for new staff, the employer must advertise the post so that all residents of Sweden, the EU/EEA and Switzerland can apply for the job. By advertising on the situations vacant site of the Swedish Public Employment Service, advertisements also become visible on the European situations vacant site, EURES, meaning that persons resident in Sweden, the EU/EEA and Switzerland are able to apply for the job.

The position can be advertised through channels other than the Swedish Public Employment Service, provided that the advertisement is made available in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in another way; e.g. through advertisement in another established European channel for situations vacant. It is not sufficient to advertise the position on the employer’s website or in a number of widely circulated newspapers. If the advertisement has been made available in another way other than through the Swedish Public Employment Service or EURES, it is important that your employer can demonstrate that the advertisement has been disseminated in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in a corresponding manner.

In the case of positions that are only relevant to a limited circle of people who can be reached through targeted recruitment measures, then it may be sufficient to advertise the position on a recruitment database used by the circle of people concerned. When assessing which recruitment measures are required, the employer should consider, for example, whether the position is specifically regulated, if the position places high demands on education or experience, or if, due to its particular nature, the position may only be relevant to a limited group of people.

The advertisement should be available for a period of ten days. It should be published within a reasonable time from the beginning of the position. Advertising of a position is cancelled when an employment offer is established.

If the end date of the advertisement is more than six months before the position is due to begin, this may mean that the application for a work permit will be rejected.

Questions and answers on trade union statement

The reason why a union organisation should have the opportunity to state its views on the offer of employment is to ensure that wage and employment conditions are no worse than those specified in a collective agreement or what is normal for the profession or industry.

The employer is responsible in the first instance for obtaining a union statement. If the employer has not obtained a union statement, the Swedish Migration Agency sends the offer of employment to the union organisation concerned. This will delay the processing time. It is important therefore that the employer obtains the union statement themselves.

If the union organisation refuses to state its views of the employment conditions, the Swedish Migration Agency will take a position on whether the terms of employment offered correspond to the collective agreement or what is normal for the profession or industry.

Questions and answers about the employer

There are higher investigative requirements for some industries, but employers with more than 50 employees are exempted from these requirements. This information is also important when the Swedish Migration Agency looks at whether the employer has paid the employers’ fees that are due. If the company belongs to a corporation, it is the number of employees in the company in Sweden that must be given.

The Swedish Migration Agency needs to know when the current business started to be able to assess whether it is a newly established company. There are special investigative requirements for newly established companies, which means that further documents must be submitted with the application.

Read more about certain industries that are subject to more stringent control

The Swedish Migration Agency needs to know the date when the agreement was signed in order to be able to see how long you have been covered by the collective agreement. The date that must be given is the date on which the agreement was signed.

Questions and answers about extensions

You must submit verification data from the Swedish Tax Agency when you apply for an extension. In order to show that you satisfy the conditions for a work permit, you must submit a summary of your verification data from the Swedish Tax Agency for all the years you have been working in Sweden, showing your total income as well as who has paid your wages or other sources of income.

Read more about income statements

If you have not paid taxes in Sweden, you must attach a month-by-month summary of your wages and allowances, instead of the verification data. State the equivalent of your wage in SEK per month. Also state how many days per month you have been working in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency may need additional documents that show the wage you have been receiving.

When applying to extend your work permit, you will need to show that the conditions for the work permit have been satisfied for each month of the entire period for which you have had a work permit for Sweden. An acceptable break in the employment is being ill or on parental leave. State in the application whether you have been absent from your work and why. Enclose certificates to confirm your absence, for example, payment advice from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

If you have not worked at all, or have only worked for a very limited period of time, your application for a permanent residence permit may be rejected.

It is possible to have certain interruptions in your employment that are not due to parental leave or sick leave. Some examples include a leave of absence from your work (e.g. a holiday), or travel to your country of origin. In your application, indicate whether you have been absent from your work and why.

Also see the question What if I have been absent due to sickness or parental leave?

If you have a residence permit for another Schengen state or have visited another Schengen state during the period for which you have had a work permit for Sweden, you must state this in your application for an extension. This is important for when the Swedish Migration Agency assesses whether you satisfy the requirements for a permanent residence permit. The Swedish Migration Agency will then look at how much time you have spent outside Sweden and what significance this has for your connection to Sweden.

When you apply to have your work permit extended, the Swedish Migration Agency checks whether you have met the conditions for the permit during your previous permit period, and whether you meet the conditions for being granted a new work permit.

When you apply for an extension, the Swedish Migration Agency will perform an overall assessment of the terms of employment over time.

No, as long as the terms of your employment contract are not worse than what is customary in your profession or industry.

An employer is not required to offer terms that are entirely in line with collective agreements. Employers who have not signed a collective agreement will be able to word their terms in a way that deviates from collective agreements provided that the terms are not worse than what is customary in the profession or industry in question.

Terms of employment can change over the course of a permit period, and certain terms may sometimes be agreed to retroactively. It is also possible for some employees to enter into individual agreements with the employer regarding terms relating to (for example) time off and pension payments.

It is you who are applying for a work permit who have to prove that your terms of employment are in line with what is customary in your profession or industry. You can, for example, submit information or documentation that shows this.

If your employer only rectifies a deficiency after the Swedish Migration Agency has taken action in response, we will take this into consideration in our overall assessment.

We perform an individual assessment and check to ensure that, among other things, the terms have been in line with collective agreements or what is customary in your profession or industry, and what measures your employer has taken to compensate for the deficiency.

We also look at other circumstances that speak for or against granting approval of your application.

If, for a certain period, your terms of employment were not in line with collective agreements or what is customary in your profession or industry, but your employer has rectified the deficiency before the Swedish Migration Agency has taken action in response to it, then we will take this into consideration in the overall assessment.

We will then look at what the deficiency is and why it occurred. Minor administrative deficiencies, for example, may be permitted in a general assessment. An insignificant deficiency may also be permitted even if it has been present for some time.

The important question is whether the deficiency has been addressed by the employer, and whether you have been compensated for the deficiency, if that is possible. The deficiency also needs to have been addressed very soon after it was discovered.

The Swedish Migration Agency looks at when the deficiency occurred during the employment period. For example, if your wage payment has been delayed or you have not been able to take out an insurance policy because of difficulties in getting registered in the population register, or in setting up a bank account, when you first started working at your position, this can usually be accepted if you have been compensated for these things.

In order for you to be entitled to work while your application for extension is being processed, you must have had a work permit for at least six months and have submitted your application before the validity of your previous work permit expired.

There is no obstacle to leaving Sweden, but if you have not received a decision regarding your new residence and work permit, you risk not getting into Sweden if you are outside the country's borders. Therefore, you always need to balance the risk of not being granted a decision in time against the necessity of travelling outside Sweden.

Yes, you may reapply for a work permit once you have returned to your country of origin.

Questions and answers about my family

Yes, family members who are granted a residence and work permit may work in Sweden. They are not limited to an occupation or an employer.

Yes, you may. If you want someone else to represent you in your case at the Swedish Migration Agency, you can give a power of attorney to that person. A power of attorney may, for example, give someone the right to apply, be informed of the reasons for a decision, or appeal against a decision on your behalf. The power of attorney must be signed by the person who gives their power of attorney to another person, and must be presented in the original if required by the Swedish Migration Agency.

If the whole family is to be represented by a legal representative, a power of attorney must be enclosed for all members of the family.

If you are over 18 years old and want another family member to represent you, you will also need to submit a power of attorney.

Power of Attorney, form number 107011PDF

No, a birth certificate must also be attached.

No, a birth certificate must also be attached.

No, if you and your family members are applying for permanent residence permits, then you do not need to attach your birth certificates. If the Swedish Migration Agency needs to check the population register, we can collect this information ourselves from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

Questions and answers about permanent residence permits

You may be granted a permanent residence permit when you have had a work permit as an employee and worked for a total of four years over the last seven years. You must have worked for the employer and in the profession for which you had the work permit.

The Swedish Migration Agency checks to ensure that you have been staying in Sweden, and working here, during the period for which you have had a work permit. You will also need to have met the conditions for the work permit during the permit period.

Read more about how we evaluate terms of employment under the question When an application for an extension is being considered, how are the terms of employment evaluated?

The Migration Agency checks that the conditions for a work permit have been met during the periods of validity of your previous work permits through the income statements and payslips that you submit. We also check that you have been covered by insurances during your permit period.

Your salary and other terms of employment must have been at least equivalent to what is stated in the collective agreement or is considered the practice in your profession or industry. The Migration Agency makes an overall assessment over time. If there are deficiencies we check why there is a deficiency and if it has been rectified.

If you cannot get a permanent residence permit, you may receive an extended work permit if you have special grounds for being granted one.

There may be special grounds for being granted a work permit for longer than four years if, for example, you want to settle in Sweden and you have a strong connection to the Swedish labour market. The Migration Agency makes an assessment of all the circumstances in your case. As a starting point, you should have worked for at least three years during your previous permit periods.

There may also be special grounds for being granted an extended work permit if you do not intend to settle in Sweden but need further permission for a shorter time in order to complete a work assignment.

If you have been unemployed and are therefore unable to get a permanent residence permit, there may be special grounds for granting you an extended work permit instead.

The longest you can get a work permit for is six years.

If you have had a work permit for a total of four years over the last seven years you do not need to have a continued employment to be granted a permanent residence permit. You must have been employed and been working during the period for which you have had a work permit, and you must have met the conditions for the work permit during the permit period.

If you have interrupted your employment due to illness or parental leave, you must submit payment information from Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency). If you can show that you have been ill or on parental leave, these interruptions will be accepted, but if you have only worked for a limited period of time it may be difficult for you to get a permanent residence permit.

Other types of interruptions in your employment are not accepted to the same extent.

Generally speaking, you may receive a work permit for only four years during a period of seven. Because you have already had a work permit for four years, you cannot receive a new temporary one immediately after returning to your country of origin. You may obtain a new work permit once the seven-year period has expired. That period starts as of the day you received your first work permit.

Find out more in our position paper about calculating the total work permit period pursuant to Chapter 6, Section 2a, Aliens Act (Swedish Code of Statutes 2005:716) (In Swedish)external link, opens in new window

Instead of a work permit you can apply for an EU Blue Card. An EU Blue Card gives you the right to work in Sweden.

You can get an EU Blue Card if you have received an offer of a highly qualified job , have a higher education corresponding to at least 180 higher education credits or five years of professional experience and have a salary that corresponds to at least one and a half times the average gross salary in Sweden.

If you meet the requirements for an EU Blue Card, you can get one even if you have already had a work permit for four years. You must leave Sweden before you apply for an EU Blue Card.

Read more about the EU Blue Card

If you are going to do seasonal work, you can instead apply for a work permit for seasonal work. If you are employed in a company outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and are going to work as a manager, specialist or trainee in the company in Sweden, you can apply for an ICT permit. You can also be granted this even if you have already had a work permit for four years.

Read more about residence permits for seasonal workers

Read more about ICT permits

No, you may not receive a permanent residence permit because you did not have a work permit for the past seven years. But you can obtain a new temporary work permit.

It is only the permit you have actually used that is counted when the Swedish Migration Agency is calculating your total permit period. Your permit is regarded as being used as soon as you enter Sweden. As you did not enter Sweden during the validity of your first work permit, it is only the last two years of your work permit that are counted. Consequently, you may be awarded a new temporary work permit if you fulfil the requirements for a further permit.

If you had entered Sweden during your first permit period, that time would also have been counted. This applies even if you, for example, waited until the end of the permit period before entering Sweden or if you, after entering Sweden, never started your employment. In which case, special grounds are required in order to obtain an further temporary work permit.

Find out more in our position paper about calculating the total work permit period pursuant to Chapter 6, Section 2a, Aliens Act (Swedish Code of Statutes 2005:716) (In Swedish)external link, opens in new window

Last updated: 2020-06-26

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