• Sweden edition
 

Manpower shortage leads to work permit delays

Published: 08 Jun 2011 10:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2011 10:45 GMT+02:00

According to Alejandro Firpo, who headed the agency's work permit unit until his recent promotion, the agency was over-staffed when it was launched in 2008 following the introduction of new labour migration rules.

“We had expected more applications but because of the financial crisis that followed we didn’t receive as many as we had estimated,“ Firpo told The Local.

However, as the financial climate stabilised, the agency started receiving an increasing number of applications.

By 2010, however, the Migration Board was hit by an “explosive” rise in applications.

“It seems that more people found out about the law and we simply couldn’t keep up with the demand,” Firpo said.

The new rules from 2008 stipulated that individual employers rather than the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) decide whether there is a need to recruit foreign workers.

Under the new rules, immigrants are also able to receive an extended work permit for a maximum of four years, after which they can qualify for a permanent residence permit.

But delays in the processing times are causing grumbles among companies that need their staff faster than permits can be issued.

Sadek Yildic runs a recruitment agency supplying staff to catering companies specialising in foreign delicacies.

“We currently have 22 workers that have applied for a permit but are waiting for an answer. We are losing customers, time is ticking away and time is money,“ Yildic told news agency TT.

His lawyer Jan Axelsson, who has handled applications from more than 40 people from outside the EU, is also critical of the system.

“It’s completely useless. Imagine being offered a job and find yourself forced to tell your prospective employer: ‘Yes, I’ll be there. In 6 months’,” he said to TT.

But according to Firpo the delays are a thing of the past, the agency is managing to meet their targets despite a continuing increase in applications.

“Since last year we have a 40 percent rise in applications, but as it is looking right now we are getting more and more efficient,” he said.

Since 2010, the agency has both reshuffled their exiting resources and hired more officers to deal with work permits.

Firpo understands that companies need their workers fast but pointed out that delays often are due to incomplete applications rather than agency inefficiency.

When news agency TT told Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, he expressed concerns about the lengthy processing times for Swedish work permits.

“Of course we hoped that this wouldn’t happen. We want this to be a non-bureaucratic and efficient system and we tend to recommend electronic applications,” he told TT.

Reinfeldt also pointed out that despite delays, he is of the opinion that the system is working well and that several thousand foreign workers so far have arrived in Sweden.

And according to Firpo it is the paper applications that take a long time to process.

“If it drags out, there is generally a good reason,” Firpo said.

A paper application has to be handled by the Swedish embassy in a given country before it reaches the Migration Board, a process which in itself can take several months.

If the application turns out to be incomplete, officers have to start tracking down the right people, as the board can’t approve an application without all the relevant information.

“But when it comes down to electronic applications we are back on track – it is a question of days and weeks from when an application is received to when the permit is issued,“ Firpo told The Local.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

13:40 June 8, 2011 by swedejane
Typical swedish bureaucracy...with all due respect. I've gone through the Kafka-esque swedish paper maze many times, and am always astounded at the complete absence of rational and logical thought I can come up against. It seriously makes most of the US processes look downright efficient and 21st century, which is a real feat. And may god have mercy on you if you don't have an effing personal number...you know, because you're not from here and their own migration rules state you can't be issued a personal number unless you have a 1 year visa to be here. But of course, try getting a 1 year visa without a job and a 100,000sek in the bank. It amazes me that in a country that thinks of itself as so modern, they see no problem with their heavily dependent paper form system. Weird.
14:13 June 8, 2011 by Syftfel
Funny. There is shortage of manpower to issue work visas to needed qualified workers. There appears to be no such shortage in the Asylum Division, or the Family Reunification Division.
14:50 June 8, 2011 by crocadoodledoo
I do not understand swedish bureaucracy, especially when the employer is a swedish company or a university..i am an international phd student employed by KTH. PhD is normally a 5 year programme as we are expected to teach as well. Why cant these migrationsverket ppl issue university employed phd students a residence permit for 4 years to start with ?!.. Students like me have to get their residence permit renewed every year. That itself is a pain in the a$$. To add to the misery, they now take 4 months to process your visa (which is only granted for 1 year at a time). And they dont process it before your visa ends, so you are stuck here in sweden (often overstaying your visa for atleast a couple of months) and cant even make plans to go home/outside sweden lest you cant come back to work in case your current visa ends before your return date. The whole residence permit extrension process is harrowing, inhuman and completely unnecessary.
16:35 June 8, 2011 by johnny1939
It is indeed a scandal. Here we are w/ people ready and willing to work and nobody w/ any sense to help them to do so quickly. As a Swede I cannot understand what the hell is going on?? Maybe to many coffee breaks or time off for whatever? I have also heard that immigrants that are ready and willing to work and get ahead are not allowed to do so for strange and complicated reasons. This is not something new this has been going on as long as I can remember. It is a joke if it was not such a serious matter. Shape up people!!!
18:32 June 8, 2011 by teknowaffle
Here is a new one for people applying for residence permits. (I am an American btw with a Swedish wife)

I applied for my 2 year residence permit to move to Sweden in January.

Recently, (May 20th) the EU required a switchover to biometric cards that contain a chip with photo and fingerprints. My decision was made a couple of business days after to grant me permanent residence, but they hadn't taken my finger prints. I figure, no problem, get them done at the consulate in nearby San Francisco, or a local police station, and send them in.

Nope, I would have to fly out to the Embassy in Washington D.C to get them done, as will apparently any person applying to get a residence permit.

I suppose it will cut down on the number of applications.
19:56 June 8, 2011 by Iraniboy
I think waiting for 6 months for a job permit in unreasonable. But now that less non-EU students come to Sweden they can allocate staff to Work Permit units instead, so what's the problem?
21:10 June 8, 2011 by kenny8076
My visa expires on the 12th of this month. Me and my girlfriend mailed everything in about 2 months ago..... hadnt heard ANYTHING from anyone, so my girlfriend called a couple days ago and they said it would be a few weeks.... they are "flooded".... lol Swedes kill me when it comes to work..... Flooded?! baahahaha.... that's all i did was laugh when my girl told me that......
02:06 June 9, 2011 by ronneby
Absolutely Swedish bureaucracy. I had to wait for atleast 4 months because the case officer has requested for additional documents a day before her summer vacation for two months, and when i submitted, no one else at the migrationverket are allowed to take up the case, since it was already taken by some one.

And the head of Workpermit department replied "I understand everything, but unfortunately, it is the system and all you can do now is to wait!!!"
16:20 June 9, 2011 by gorgepir
Maybe if the idiots at Migrationsverket would not require me to extend my phd visa every year (which can only be done one month before and takes 4 months) they would have more time to do other stuff.

Talk about incompetence.
16:40 June 10, 2011 by Mark S.
Maybe the Migration Board should hire some foreign workers to help out.

The only way it can take several months to process the paperwork is if nobody is working on it. Yes, sometimes nobody is working on it because they are waiting for information from some other source, but a little transparency into the process would at least help the potential immigrants understand.

For example, what exactly is the embassy doing with the application for "several months"? Are they sending private investigators out to check the veracity of your statements? Or is it just sitting in a drawer because they only work on the papers 1 day a month?
12:59 June 15, 2011 by astra2thor6
Unemployment has risen to its highest level for a decade. Unemployment amongst "invandrare" is significantly higher than for Swedish born. Why cannot the currently unemployed be used to fill these empty vacancies?

In many countries in which I've lived diplomas, certificates, and even degrees can be purchased without education. Do those prospective employers verify the authenticity of foreign would-be employees?

Re "teknowaffle" comments above, "Have you ever applied to become an American citiizen (with an American wife)?" Now there's real bureaucracy at work!
Today's headlines
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

686
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se