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OECD: Sweden has poor eye on working conditions

Published: 06 Nov 2011 08:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Nov 2011 08:30 GMT+01:00

Sweden has poor control over people coming from outside the EU to work, specifically including aspects related to the pay and conditions they have been promised, according to findings by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees, (Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation, TCO), is demanding the government make changes to existing legislation.

“Now is the time for the government to adopt the needed legislative changes, for example, to be able to cross-check records between the tax and immigration services, in each case,” Samuel Engblom, lawyer for TCO, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

In a draft assessment, the OECD criticized the Swedish labour migration system and submitted recommendations for Sweden to tighten its control, according to reports from SR, which had access to the report.

Since its inception in 2008, the law allowing for labour migration in the country has resulted in nearly 47,000 work permits being granted by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

According to media reports, groups that drew the most attention involved seasonal berry-pickers as well as foreign labour used in the restaurant industry.

One such suggestion toward sharpening controls of the working conditions could be to check pay slips against tax returns.

In a letter submitted to the government last summer, the Migration Board said that it does not have the power to examine the working conditions or to see employment contracts.

“We can recover job offers, but we cannot control how the agreement was devised,” said the director of the Migration Board’s work permit division, Alejandro Firpo, to the TT news agency in July.

Amongst other criticisms, the Swedish labour migration law has also come under fire for enabling a new major area in human trafficking.

The mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well being of people around the world.

TT/The Local/kh (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:57 November 6, 2011 by eddie123
this is an issue that common sense can solve... give work permits but when it comes to renewing the permits, verify the said claims on the application against the taxes paid by an employee. i know a lot of people on work permits who earn way below the 13K threshold but their employers give them letters to migration saying they earn above 13k every month. this is ridiculous. why do you need a law to cross check the records? ask the tax office to establish a data base that documents the taxes paid by each and every migrant worker. this should be a public data base and when a migrant worker files an application for extension of their work/resident permit, the migration board can then check online using the personal identification or coordination number of the applicant to know how much taxes they have paid. it is unreasonable for government agencies to refuse to coordinate and share vital information that safe guards our society and the ideals for which Sweden stands. increasingly, we find that some migrant workers live without valid papers in Sweden and all they time, they are working, paying taxes (or not) and receiving tax returns without the tax agency being aware that such people are not entitled to work in Sweden in the first instance. this clearly shows a break down or the non-existence of governance.
19:34 November 6, 2011 by zooeden
Thumbs up TL!!!
19:35 November 6, 2011 by sabrina8z
as a worker visa holder, i got the experience to tell you how the employer would take advantage of policies about work visa.

First, if the company needs workers, the employer would firstly import relatives or people they would trust deeply, so that later no one would uncover the hidden salary work conditions and so on. And the imported ones must accept whatever they would get since the policy states that THE EMPLOYER HAS THE RIGHT TO CANCEL THE EMPLOYMENT. AND
06:28 November 7, 2011 by skatty
According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Sweden has poor control over people coming from outside the EU to work related to the pay and conditions they have been promised. And, according to the UN, Sweden has high standard of life for its population (which reduce every year, and receive lower grade).

The conclusion would be: if there is any high standard of life in Sweden, that high standard is not for working immigrants coming from a non-EU country! Which means that high standard of life is just for some specified people.
07:50 November 7, 2011 by luke123
"Amongst other criticisms, the Swedish labour migration law has also come under fire for enabling a new major area in human trafficking."

Didn't the Swedes claim that there was no human trafficking in Sweden because of their wonderfully fascist sex purchase law ?
00:50 November 11, 2011 by sabrina8z
the employer pays much lower salary to the employees, but the L?N put into bank account was the right amout salary, in a certain of month, let us say 6 months, the employer would ask the employees to transfer some money to someone else's bank account, maybe the employer's sister or other relatives', say the amount would be 50,000kr or similiar. Second, only after 4 years could possible the work permit holder get permenant residece, the employees ususally choose to bear everything before they would get the status, once they fight for their rights, how much they would spend on winning their own rights? Language, experience, laws knowledges and other disadvantages or let's say the cost make work visa holder have to accept everything or get fired without any compensations. Third, some employers use the employees to laudry money or cheating tax, if the employees later found out it was big crime and didn't want to continue, the employer would threat that he/she would not run since the crimes have already been done. The only choice is to listen to the employer, otw..... I started to understand why my relative invited me to come to Sweden during the past 10 years, only in 2009 that I agreed to come to work as she promised I would have a good future here....... But it turned out it was a nightmare.
13:15 November 14, 2011 by zooeden
The most important note from the Local ever and only 6 comments??? I start to understand the mass...
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