Since 15 December 2008, Sweden has had rules on labour immigration that make it easier for employers to recruit labour from third countries. The employer's assessment of the need to recruit foreign labour is the key point when processing residence and work permit applications. The individual employer is best placed to know what skills are required in the business and what recruitment needs exist.
Requirements for labour immigration to Sweden
A basic requirement for permission to immigrate into Sweden as an employee is that there is an offer of employment that will provide the immigrant with an adequate living. The terms of employment offered must be no worse than those specified in relevant Swedish collective agreements or provided by common practice in the occupation or industry. The principle of Community preference must be respected. Community preference means that nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are to have first priority for access to employment opportunities.
Work permits may be granted for at most two years, or the period of employment, if shorter. Work permits may be extended on one or more occasions. Such applications for extension can be made while in Sweden. The total duration of a permit is limited to no more than four years. After four years it may be possible to convert the temporary residence and work permit into a permanent residence permit.
Work permit tied to a certain employer and a certain type of work
The first time a work permit is granted it will be tied to a certain employer and a certain type of work. After two years the temporary work permit will only be tied to a certain type of work.
Withdrawal rules allowing up to three months to look for work
A residence permit for an alien who has lost their job will be subject to withdrawal if the alien does not apply for a work permit for a new job within three months. To put it another way, a person who loses their job while in possession of a valid work permit has up to three months to find a new job.
Visiting students' right to apply for work permits while in Sweden
Visiting students who have completed studies equivalent to 30 credits or who have completed one term as a visiting student in a postgraduate programme at a university or other higher education institution are allowed to apply for a residence and work permit while in Sweden. However, they must apply for a permit before their residence permit for study purposes expires.
Asylum seekers and work permits
In certain circumstances, asylum seekers who have received a final decision rejecting their application for a residence permit can apply for a residence and work permit while in the country. The alien must have worked for at least six months, have an offer of a permanent job or a job lasting at least one year, and otherwise meet the basic requirements for being granted a work permit. In addition, the application must be made within two weeks of the final decision rejecting the asylum application.