Frequently asked questions about work permits

General questions and answers
  • Do I need a passport when applying for a work permit?

    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

  • Who starts the application?

    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

  • May I be assisted by a legal representative?

    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

  • When do I not need to have a work permit?

    Certain people can work in Sweden without a work permit.

    Read more about exemptions from the requirement for a work permit

  • Which application form should I use if I am located in Sweden and have a residence and work permit and am now going to change employer?

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

    If you are unable to apply online, you will need to complete the form Application for Swedish work permit – for applicant currently in Sweden, number 151011.

    Apply for a work permit

    Application for Swedish work permit – for applicant currently in Sweden, form number 151011PDF

    Read more on what may apply when changing jobs

  • How long before my work permit expires should I submit a new application?

    You will need to submit your application before your work permit expires. You should not submit your application more than six 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?

  • May I change my occupation or employer without notifying the Swedish Migration Agency?

    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 what changing your job involves

  • What happens if I am unable to begin my employment on time?

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

Questions and answers about wages and other employment conditions
  • What are the requirements regarding wages?

    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.

  • What do I do if my wages are in line with what is customary in the industry, but still below what is specified in the collective agreement?

    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.

  • What if I receive other payments and benefits apart from my wages?

    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

  • Why should I state what my work duties are?

    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
  • What insurance policies are required?

    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.

  • What insurance details must be submitted?

    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.

  • When must the insurance be taken out?

    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.

  • What if I am covered by foreign insurance schemes?

    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 must the job 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. 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 advertising on the page If the person will apply for a work permit

  • In what cases does my employer not need to advertise the position?

    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.

  • When does an international corporation need to advertise a post?

    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.

  • Does the post have to be advertised if I have a residence permit that is limited to occupation and I change my employer within the same occupation?

    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.

  • How should the position 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.

  • How long should the position be advertised for?

    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
  • Why is a union opinion necessary?

    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.

  • Who is responsible for giving a union opinion?

    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.

  • What happens if the union organisation does not give an opinion?

    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
  • Why does the employer have to provide details of the number of employees in the company?

    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.

  • Why does the Swedish Migration Agency want details of when the company started its current business?

    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 under Certain industries are subject to more stringent control

  • Why does the Swedish Migration Agency need to know on what date the employer became bound by a valid collective agreement?

    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
  • When do I need to submit verification data from the Swedish Tax Agency?

    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

  • What if I receive a wage from my country of origin?

    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.

  • What if I have been absent on grounds of illness or parental leave?

    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).

  • What if I have a permit for or have visited other Schengen states during the permit period?

    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 an application for an extension is being considered, how are the terms of employment evaluated?

    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.

  • Is my employer required to have signed a collective agreement?

    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.

  • What happens if the terms are changed during my permit period?

    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.

  • What happens to me if the Swedish Migration Agency finds a deficiency and tells my employer about it?

    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.

  • What happens if my employer has corrected a previous deficiency in my terms of employment?

    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.

  • What happens if the deficiencies are due to something other than my employer’s management?

    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.

  • Can I work while my application for extension is being processed?

    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.

Questions and answers about my family
  • May my accompanying family also work in Sweden?

    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.

  • May I be assisted by a legal representative?

    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

  • Is it possible to demonstrate a relationship with a family member by submitting a passport that includes the family?

    No, a birth certificate must also be attached.

  • Is it possible to send the child's passport instead of a birth certificate if the parents' names are included in the passport?

    No, a birth certificate must also be attached.

  • Do we need to submit birth certificates when me and my family are applying for permanent residence permits?

    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
  • What is required in order for a permanent residence permit to be granted?

    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?

  • What does the Migration Agency check when I apply for a permanent residence permit?

    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.

  • Am I still able to get an extended work permit even if I cannot get a permanent residence permit?

    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 are employed in a group of companies abroad and are repeatedly sent to Sweden to work here for a limited period of time.

    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.

  • I don't have an employment anymore, will this affect my chances of being granted a permanent residence permit?

    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.

  • I have been on parental leave during my employment, will this affect my application for a permanent residence permit?

    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.

Last updated: 2018-08-20

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