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Gaming industry decries work permit wait times

Gaming industry decries work permit wait times

Published: 31 Aug 2012 08:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Aug 2012 08:16 GMT+02:00

The long wait for Swedish work permits facing talented computer programmers from other countries has prompted the Swedish games industry to put pressure on the government to cut processing times.

In a letter to integration minister Erik Ullenhag, a representative from the Swedish Games Industry (Dataspelbranschen) warns that its member companies may lose their cutting edge due to work permit processing times which can average more than six months.

"The long processing times result in games companies losing out on people they'd like to employ," writes the industry association's spokesperson Per Strömbäck.

"The games industry finds itself facing tough international competition; should bureaucracy stand in the way of our ability to compete on better terms?"

Strömbäck points out that Swedish trade minister Ewa Björling considers computer games one of Sweden's "largest cultural exports" and that explosive growth has meant that companies must look outside of Sweden for talented programmers and graphic designers.

But the lengthy process of putting potential recruits' paperwork in order turns many off from moving to Sweden.

"Six months is an unreasonably long time to wait to move to a new country," Strömbäck writes.

He explains further that a new certification system introduced by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to streamline the recruitment of foreign workers requires companies to hire at least 25 workers per year from other countries, which means many game producers can't take advantage of it.

As an alternative, Strömbäck proposes allowing the industry association to be certified.

"Of course, the best thing would be to reduce the processing time for work permits," he concluded.

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

08:48 August 31, 2012 by robban70226
understood, Sweden have a different time scale than other industrialized countries,

What is it is Hours in other country is Days in Sweden

What is it is days in other country is weeks in Sweden

What is it is weeks in other country is months in Sweden

What is it is months in other country is years in Sweden

Too many Fika times?
09:21 August 31, 2012 by moizhaad
I don't understand what they are doing its a long time is not a just six months its can bee more then year .i think they don't need any more workers from out side of EU.
09:43 August 31, 2012 by smilingjack
my take on it is that sweden takes something simple and then swedes it up.ie makes it complex for no reason other then to draw attention to itself.

for example why special swedish miles? to try and be different for no reason then to try and stand out?

saab goes broke and is bailed out - just instal the gps in the new car and we'll be back on track. no way - swedes take a perfectly good product and make it more complex to the point where it is unusable. no surprise they were dumped like a hot rock after costs ballooned out of control.

no wonder 3/4 of your population have tattoos and "tribal" era rings to be "different". all a tad pretentious.
09:55 August 31, 2012 by DusterSix
Having worked in the Games Industry for 17 years and moved to Sweden 7 years ago, I can attest to the difficulty in getting permits for highly trained people to work here from outside the EU. The reason we hire people from outside of Sweden or the EU is simply because the supply of highly trained rendering engineers, low level coders, etc., is already tapped. If there is a Swede who fits the needs s/he is already employed and has 3 other companies trying to hire them away. With a population of 9M, there are only so many people in any particular skillset. The same is true for the EU, but there you also need to take into account someone willing to move and someone who is comfortable working in Swedish/English.

It is more expensive for us to hire someone from say the US to work here (relocation is a big part), but it is worth it when we cannot find someone from Sweden/EU.

Finally, these people all pay Swedish taxes, buy goods here, rent/buy homes. They are net contributors to the Swedish economy and are not taking jobs from Swedes, so I'm at a loss for why it takes so long. Maybe the other posters are correct and it's just a slow system.
10:07 August 31, 2012 by Nilspet
It is quite clear that migrationsverket does not have a deep understanding of IT industries, international competitions, university studies, research activities, etc ... Foreigners coming to Sweden in these categories face "unnecessarily" long wait times. In many EU countries, it takes 2-3 weeks to obtain a work permit (and that is not for ordinary jobs). It does not take more than 2-3 days "at most" to work on a work permit application or something like that.

It is bad for Sweden that an extremely important authority like migrationsverket works the way it works.
10:19 August 31, 2012 by Freelife
Well if you cannot bring them, send the jobs to time.

Outsourcing is cheap and productive and profitable and the employer need not care about the conditions of the employee.
10:28 August 31, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
If I was a computer programmer in the game industry... I would just fly here and claim asylum at the airport. Problem solved. Then you can BS your way into the system and you are set. Seems a hell of a lot easier than doing it the "old fashioned" way.
16:09 August 31, 2012 by IranianAtheist
The work permit application has to work with 3 types of applications with one set of rules:

1. Applications from serious industries who need highly competent individuals outside of EU.

2. Applications from unstable firms who import cheap labor for tasks such as berry picking. Everything is messy in this section and some workers get abused by employers.

3. Fake companies who charge a person seeking permanent residency and citizenship in Sweden under work permit laws and fake a position and salary for this person, while in fact the person is paying his own salary and a commission to this company, lawyer, or consultant. There are not much laws punishing people for this type of fraud, and often these people are awarded by a Swedish citizenship and a survival income after the fake employment ends.

The immigration laws have been made under pressure of big Swedish companies who did business internationally. At the moment there is no motivation from the government side to improve the laws and processes and provide adequate resources to migrationsverket. By the way, you can go to the migrationsverket office in Gothenburg and see with your eyes that they work only 8 hours a week.
17:45 August 31, 2012 by cupidcub
What ?? Say again ? Sweden needs Talented individuals from outside EU ? I thought some of you hate immigrants so much that you don't even care about their 'talent'.

Relax Swedes can't take the pressure anymore ? .. lol..
19:30 August 31, 2012 by moizhaad
What i think they need some hard worker to work in migrationverket from out side Eu .
08:43 September 1, 2012 by Swedishmyth
Just have them acquire Somalian citizenship before applying.
09:12 September 1, 2012 by Camlon
What? Six months! That is completely retarded.

Sweden just makes it harder and harder to immigrate as an qualified immigrant, and easier and easier if you are unqualified and from a third world country.

I have a feeling it is not going to turn well.
11:25 September 1, 2012 by EmployedProfessional
Sweden's half-ass EU membership speaks for itself,thankfully,they got the currency part right!

She won't own up to the fact that this is only a phisical island and no longer an industrial one.Sweden continues to price itself out of the market,Saab is only the most publicised example.Young,educated swedish graduates are leaving the cold,taking their (my)tax paid educations to other places where they can feel some love.It beats working for Posten with a PhD.

Sweden will eventually feel the heat for being so closed for business.

Look closely,everything here" is farmed out" from emergency services to transportation.She can't manage to do anything on her own anymore.

She's quickly headed to becoming a dead factory town,sad.
15:43 September 2, 2012 by Rogerenden
Try European specialists, they do exist,... or are they too expensive? :O
17:37 September 2, 2012 by rsmehdihasan
i can say Migrationverket is too much working with Asylums. may be they used to ...and please stop bringing * some fake people.make a review system.should have to take attentions to other sides as well
22:49 September 2, 2012 by Beavis
A few things have been left out... Firstly the reason why Swedish gaming companies cant find the right people comes more down to their HR. For some reason companies that have hired Swedes with uni backgrounds in HR seem to have some very narrow mindsets and are quite simply unable to hire the right people. The better game companies drop the Swedish language requirement for the hiring process (hence get the best people not the best Swedish speakers) and also get non Swedes or Swedes that lived abroqd in their HR dept. There are tons of qualified Poles and Romanians with great programming skills for example and only on very rare occasions should they ever need to go outsside the EU.

I attended an inerview a couple of yearrs back in a gaming company in Stockholm. They showed me a video of what the comapny did (of course Id already researched that before the interview) and asked if I had any questions.

I said sure, what would be an example of something I would do during a typical day- they had no idea, they were just HR and knew nothing about the job itself.

And of course the last option is these companies are just trying to hire on the cheap..
01:56 September 3, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Companies can not hire cheaper than the acceptable salaries approved by unions.
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