Asylum seekers who have got a job and want to apply for a work permit

If your application for asylum has been refused and a deportation or refusal-of-entry order has entered into force, you may be able to apply for a work permit under certain circumstances without leaving Sweden.

In order to work while you are an asylum seeker, you must have an AT-UND (exemption from the work permit requirement). You must meet certain requirements to obtain an AT-UND.

Information about work and work practice in other languages:

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Requirements for a work permit

In order for you to receive a work permit:

  • the Migration Agency must receive your application within 14 days after the decision concerning your application for asylum entered into force
  • you must have a valid passport
  • you must have had an AT-UND while you were an asylum seeker
  • you must have been working for four months for the same employer prior to the date that the Migration Agency received your application for a work permit
  • your employer must offer you the opportunity to continue working for another 12 months
  • the terms of employment must be at least on the same level as Swedish collective agreements or that which is customary in the occupation or industry. The terms of employment include insurance coverage as well as salary. The requirements also apply to the previous four months.
  • you must be offered a monthly pretax salary of at least SEK 13,000. The requirements also apply to the previous four months.

The decision enters into force when

  • you have signed a declaration of acceptance
  • three weeks have passed since you received the decision, assuming that you have not appealed against it
  • three weeks have passed since you received the Migration Court's ruling.

To obtain a work permit, you must fulfil the requirements for a work permit for one job. You cannot fulfil the requirements via a combination of several jobs.

Make sure to extend your passport if it is about to expire – you cannot obtain a work permit for longer than your passport's period of validity.

Read more about the requirements to which your employer is subject under For employers.

If the requirements are not met

All the above requirements must be met in order for the Migration Agency to approve an application by someone who is in Sweden. Otherwise you must leave Sweden and wait for the decision in your country of origin or another country in which you have permission to live. You are subject to other regulations under such circumstances.

How to apply

You can apply for a work permit online.

You will probably be required to pay a fee.

Fees for work permits

 Enclose the following documents with your application  

  • copies of the pages of your passport that show personal data, period of validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
  • a job offer and a statement concerning the terms of employment by the trade union concerned – to be obtained from your employer
  • wage specifications for the past four months.

Faster decision if complete information has been submitted

The Migration Agency first processes applications for which complete information and all necessary documents have been submitted. In other words, you will receive a faster decision if you send everything we need together with your application than if you add information afterwards.

Remember that the Migration Agency might have to investigate your application further even if you submit all the information and documents that we have asked for.

Once we have received your application

If you obtain a permit, you will also receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have the right to be in Sweden, contains your photo and fingerprints. Book an appointment to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Because photos and fingerprints are not saved, you must go through the process again even if you have had a residence permit card before.

You may continue to work while you are waiting for a decision.

A deportation or refusal-of-entry order remains in force

If your application for asylum has been refused and you have received a deportation or refusal-of-entry order, it remains in force even if you apply for a work permit. Only under certain circumstances can the Migration Agency allow you to interrupt your preparations to return to your country of origin until a decision about your application for a work permit has been made.

If you receive a residence and work permit, you have the right to remain in Sweden as long as it remains valid. However, your deportation or refusal-of-entry order will remain in force until you obtain a permanent residence permit. For that reason, it is very important that you apply to extend your permit before it expires. An application that arrives at the Migration Agency after the expiration date will be considered according to the rules for impediments to enforcement and be subject to more stringent requirements.

After the decision has been made

The decision will be sent to your address in Sweden. Once the residence permit card is ready, it will be sent to you within approximately one week. Read more under After the decision has been made.

If you are granted a work permit, you will be released from your reception unit and you must arrange for a place to live.

Important information about insurance

You can be registered in the Swedish population register if you have received a permit for at least one year and will stay in Sweden for at least one year. If you are not registered in Sweden you are not eligible for social benefits, so make sure to have an insurance policy that will cover any costs that may arise in connection with illness, injury, etc.

Permits for members of your family

Members of your family can obtain permits for the same period of time as you do. Family members include:

  • your spouse, common-law spouse, or registered partner
  • unmarried children of you or your partner who are under 18.

How a member of your family is to apply

If a member of your family is also an asylum seeker in Sweden, a refusal of their application for asylum must have gained legal force in order for them to apply for a permit without leaving the country. They must apply within two weeks after the decision entered into force.

If your family plans to accompany you to Sweden, you can include them in your online application.

If they not apply at the same time as you, they can do their own online application.

Appeals

You can appeal against a decision concerning a work permit. You must turn the appeal in to the Migration Agency within three weeks after receiving the decision. If you do not receive a work permit, your previous deportation or refusal-of-entry order remains in force.

Extending your permit

If you are going to continue working in Sweden after your permit has expired, you have to apply for an extension of your permit. To be entitled to keep working while waiting for a decision, you must submit your application before your current permit expires.

You can get a permit for the period covered by your employment but never for longer than the period your passport is valid for. A work permit can be granted for up to two years at a time for a total of four years. If you still have an employment after four years, you can get a permanent residence permit. A permanent residence permit is valid as long as you live in Sweden.

How to apply

You apply online to extend you permit. Apply no earlier than 30 days before your current permit expires.

In most cases you need to pay a fee.

Fees for work permits

If you have family members living with you in Sweden who also need to extend their permits, you apply for them in the same online application.

What you have to send with your application

  • copies of the pages in your passport showing your personal details, the passport’s period of validity and whether you have residence permits for countries other than your home country.
  • the offer of employment and an opinion from the relevant union that you receive from your employer
  • a statement of income or supporting information for an income tax return from the Swedish Tax agency showing your income for the period when you have had a work permit
  • payslips for the period you have worked this year
  • certificates of employment from all your employers with information about the periods you have worked in Sweden if you have had a permit to work in Sweden for almost four years and you want to apply for a permanent residence permit.

Once we have received your application

If you submit an application for an extension before your previous permit expires, you have the right to remain in Sweden while the Migration Agency makes a decision.

If you go abroad when your permit expires, you may have trouble re-entering Sweden until your new permit is granted. In that case, you might have to wait for your new decision outside Sweden.

If you obtain a permit for more than three months, you will also receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have the right to be in Sweden, contains your photo and fingerprints. Book an appointment as soon as possible to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Your photo and fingerprints cannot be saved, so you need to go through the process even if you had a residence permit card before.

More information about the residence permit cardexternal link.

After the decision has been made

The decision and the residence permit card are sent to your home address in Sweden. The permit is only valid for work in the occupation and with the employer stated in the offer of employment.

Useful links if you have recently moved to Sweden and have a residence permit

If the Swedish Migration Agency refuses your application

You can appeal a work permit decision. An appeal has to be filed with the Swedish Migration Agency no later than three weeks after the date on which you were informed of the decision. If you do not receive a work permit, your previous refusal-of-entry or expulsion decision is applicable.

If you do not apply online

If you are unable to apply online, fill out the form entitled Application for Swedish work permit – for applicants currently in Sweden no. 151011 (Application for a permit to work if you are in Sweden). The application form specifies which documents to enclose.

Send your application to the Swedish Migration Agency, Box 3100, 903 03 Umeå.

Application for Swedish work permit – for applicants currently in Sweden, Form no 151011PDF

Application for permit for family members of employees, visiting researchers, athletes and self-employed persons, Form no 133011PDF

Last updated: 11 May 2015