Maintenance for employees who wish to bring their family to Sweden
If you receive a temporary residence permit to work in Sweden and want your family to come live with you here, you are subject to a maintenance requirement.
The maintenance requirement means that you must have an income that can cover the cost of housing and living expenses for yourself and your family members. The maintenance requirement does not apply when you and your family apply for an extension.
In the first instance, the Swedish Migration Agency looks at your income from salary/wages, but if this is insufficient, it is also possible to count income from business activities or personal assets.
What income counts?
The following types of income count
- taxed income from the employment for which you have been granted a permit
- parental benefits or sickness benefits, provided that you have ongoing employment and your parental leave or sick leave is not assessed to be longer than 18 months.
- income from business activities
- economical assets.
Amount of income
The monthly income from your employment (after tax) must cover the housing costs of the entire family, as well as the so-called “normal amount” (i.e., other living expenses). It is the Swedish Enforcement Authority that calculates the normal amount each year.
The normal amount
For 2023 the standard amount is
- SEK 5,717 for a single adult
- SEK 9,445 for cohabiting spouses or cohabiting partners
- SEK 3,055 for children 0–6 years of age
- SEK 3,667 for children 7–10 years of age
- SEK 4,279 for children 11–14 years of age
- SEK 4,889 for children 15 years of age or older.
If you have a child with whom you do not live and you pay maintenance to the child’s other parent, your wages must also be sufficient to cover the maintenance allowance.
The housing costs that your wages must be sufficient to cover each month depend on the type of home in which you live:
- If you live in a rented flat, you must include both the rent and the cost of heating in this calculation, if the latter is not included in the rent.
- If you live in a tenant-owner flat, you must include any fees paid to the tenant-owner association and the interest on any home loans in your calculation. You must also include necessary operating costs (such as water and heating), if these are not included in the monthly fee.
- If you live in a freestanding house, you must include the interest rate for any home loans and necessary operating costs (such as water and heating) in your calculation.
Amortisation of home loans is not included in the cost of housing. You also do not have to include the cost of electricity in your calculation, as this cost is included in the so-called “normal amount”.
You should count your entire actual housing cost. If you and your family are moving to Sweden together, you may not yet have arranged your housing when you apply for a residence permit. The Swedish Migration Agency then assumes a so-called standard cost for housing a family of your size in the town or city where your workplace in Sweden is located.
It is stated on the application form or in the e-service which documents you must attach to show that you meet the maintenance requirement for your family members.
What income does not count?
You may not count income from
- a family member
- unemployment insurance (unemployment benefits) or an activity allowance
- various forms of grants or scholarships
- subsidised employment (for example, when the Swedish Social Insurance Agency or the Swedish Public Employment Service pays all or part of the wages)
- undeclared work or employment without the legal right to work.
Exemptions from the maintenance requirement
The maintenance requirement only needs to be met the first time your family members apply for a residence permit.
Exceptions to the maintenance requirement can be made if there are special grounds to do so. Special grounds may exist if imposing the maintenance requirement in an individual case would be contrary to Sweden’s international obligations, or if two spouses each apply for a work permit and their combined income can support their accompanying children.