• Sweden's news in English

Work visas may prevent foreign student exodus

21 Nov 2012, 14:52

Published: 21 Nov 2012 14:52 GMT+01:00

Sweden lost more than half of its non-EU foreign students in the year following the 2011 introduction of tuition fees, according to the report.

Several other EU countries give students a window of opportunity to find work after graduation. The report recommends that Sweden look into the same option in order not to deprive the Swedish labour market of well-educated employees.

“If this reform is possible politically speaking, I don’t know,” Migration Board researcher Bernd Parusel told The Local.

"I can't issue a recommendation, just suggest they look into it."

The Migration Board also suggests that a student’s spouse be able to work in Sweden.

Some parts of the visa process have already been simplified for students.

“We’ve made it possible to fill in the residence permit application online,” Parusel said.

Allowing foreign students to apply for Swedish residence permits at any European Union country’s embassy or consulate could also be helpful, the report concluded, stressing the importance of closer cooperation within the EU to attract overseas students.

“In broad strokes, there are a lot of different rules across the EU countries,” Parusel told The Local.

Story continues below…

The study will be officially presented at an EU conference on international students at the beginning of 2013.

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here.

Your comments about this article

15:58 November 21, 2012 by Rogerenden
Sounds solid.

Other idea: Focus on the own young people. Or European ones.
16:05 November 21, 2012 by Grokh
this is of those things that is very ilogical in sweden, brings in uneducated people in a bad job market, but lets educated people go away. -_-
16:22 November 21, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Right now many MSc students delay submitting their thesis before finding a job. With the new approach, more will finish their studies in time.
17:10 November 21, 2012 by Freelife
Good move ..

However where are the jobs?

If plenty of jobs are available, then we don't need this. Since 'a thesis' can be an internship which can lead to an employment.

@Just_kidding, I agree.
18:13 November 21, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
duhhh !!! They realised it now ?? Frankly the govt. should think about the returns of their investment on the education of Non-EU students !! It's a great brain-wealth !!

And the problem with the labor market in sweden is they have no trust on hiring people of non-EU origin. It's not because of the no trust in the quality of work. They are scared of the so many clauses in hiring a person outside EU i guess !
18:16 November 21, 2012 by Max Reaver

Already done. That is why non-EU foreign students have to be ripped off by expensive tuition fees now.


You are right. Nowadays most MSc students graduate late than those who graduate on time.
18:26 November 21, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
They realised it now ?? Frankly the govt. should think about the returns of their investment on the education of Non-EU students !! It's a great brain-wealth !!
20:56 November 21, 2012 by cupidcub
Don't know long it might take to 'implement' this policy. Danish quick thinkers have already made 'Brain Drain' of high quality Swedish gradates from Sweden to Denmark implementing the green card scheme. Whereas Swedes are still wondering why financed so many non EU students for past decades. lol..
06:28 November 22, 2012 by prince T
That is true most foreign students do not come here anymore. @rogergren.

@rosegren. Your people are lazy. they only care abt bidrog and sex. Narrow minded like US. That is y the government needs workers elsewhere.

European people wil not come here. Because the salary and tax will be a problem. Scandinavian ppl will come though. Doctors and professionals from third worlld are cheaper to employ.

Most of the immigrants trained here are finding gainful employments in Norway and US. They are leaving the terrorists behind for u.

Sweden needs to integrate qualified immigrants. Soon we will become obsolete in the world ranking if we dont change. Ekeroth or Almquist will be PM then.
08:17 November 22, 2012 by RobinHood
Student or non-student, EU or non-EU; all people who have a skill useful to Sweden, should be offered a work visa.
08:43 November 22, 2012 by G Kin
Sweden has always had a self defeating immigration policy...

I know lots of international students who studied here and are now working in Canada, Denmark, US etc..They were never given a chance to work in Sweden. On the other hand thousands of barely schooled people are welcomed yearly from the middle east!.

Brilliant don't you think?!!!
09:55 November 22, 2012 by ZenMonk
People... its not like there are jobs here anyways or that Swedish employers, as someone has point out before are in keen on recognizing an recruiting foreign- born talent. Resolving the issue of work visas is just one part of the problem. First there needs to be a generalized demand for it (as a result of some shortage or a longer term strategy to replace aging talent that will soon be unavailable from the national pool due to other factors ) This then informs immigration reforms. This is what is happening on a generalized scale in countries like Canada, USA, etc. So far this, Sweden has kept such reforms narrow and based on identified immediate needs. Hence the IT sector has been opened up to foreign talent , with a lot coming from India et al, and reforms in work visa processes were implemented accordingly.
12:25 November 22, 2012 by axiom
@ # 12

Dont quite get your logic. The reforms with respect to work visas were not done for IT, anyone that gets a job in Sweden paying over 13000 doing whatever, wherever for however many hours can get a work permit, this is miles away from being narrow and identifying needs.

It was just pretty late when compared to neighbouring countries.

@ #11

Pretty true, Swedish migration policies have never been concerned about attracting highly skilled or educated people. There was just no route allowing them to settle here, in comparison to say many other EU countries.

My guess is that instead of broadening the tax base, revenue was comfortably earned by incredibly high taxation on those having some sort of income. Opportunities like the current work permit program is only 4 years old but even offer no transition opportunity for the many skilled students that leave every week. Such a small change would require no fundamental procedural changes except for the legislative initiative.

Students do the thesis delay tactic because thats the only card they have to play, a six month extension to find work, as long as the person can support himself, affects nothing.

Then again conversations like these usually crawl back down to "they want to take our social bidrag" etc.
08:13 March 5, 2013 by robban70226
Oh my dear Sweden

Like always A day late.. and adollar short....
Today's headlines
14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace
Swedish police officers patrolling Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

14,000 illegal immigrants disappear without trace

1 minute ago

More than 14,000 foreign nationals told to leave Sweden have instead gone underground, with police saying there is little they can do to enforce deportation orders.

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden
This picture of the boat has more than 14,700 likes on Facebook. Photo: Private

Ahoy! Swede builds giant pirate ship in his garden

27 minutes ago

A Swedish man found Facebook fame after pictures of a giant pirate ship he built for his children when he was on sick leave from work went viral on Friday.

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'
Niklas Zennström, Jane Walerud and Jessica Stark. Photo: SUP46

'She's a forerunner and inspiration for startups'

2 hours ago

A US-born entrepreneur who has helped pave the way for women in tech has joined the ranks of some of Sweden's top innovators and businesspeople in a Swedish startup hall of fame.

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'
Bredbandsbolaget was not compelled to block the Swedish file-sharing site, Pirate Bay. Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'

4 hours ago

In a landmark decision, a Swedish court on Friday ruled that the country's internet service providers cannot be forced to block controversial Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay.

Police: we can't protect Sweden from terrorists
Swedish police guarding the government building in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Police: we can't protect Sweden from terrorists

5 hours ago

After Sweden raised its terror threat alert to record high levels last week, more and more police officers on the beat warn that their weapons are not good enough to prevent a potential terror attack.

Swedish school: 'We have not banned Lucia'
Children celebrating Lucia in Stockholm. Photo: Jack Mikrut/TT

Swedish school: 'We have not banned Lucia'

6 hours ago

A Swedish nursery school has insisted it is not banning a beloved December tradition after a Facebook message posted by a furious parent went viral.

Winter in Sweden presented by Kungsberget
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
Catch air at the Kungsberget snowpark. File photo: Kungsberget

Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget

8 hours ago

Not everyone enjoys 8-hour car trips or expensive train tickets just to hit the slopes. That's why so many Stockholmers opt for Kungsberget – the majestic mountain just two hours away. The Local finds out more.

Winter in Sweden presented by Lofsdalen
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
File photo: Lofsdalen

Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness

9 hours ago

Sweden has more than a hundred ski resorts – but there’s only one where you can sip your very own cask of whisky on the top of a mountain peak. The Local finds out more about Lofsdalen – one of Sweden’s wildest resorts.

Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?
Shoppers at the Walmart chain in the US on Black Friday. Photo: Gunnar Rathbun/Invision for Walmart/AP Images

Will Swedish shoppers go nuts for Black Friday?

9 hours ago

Stores are pushing to convince Swedish shoppers to embrace US sales day 'Black Friday'. But will the phenomenon catch on?

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg
Swedish mulled wine served the traditional way. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

How to make Swedish mulled wine: glögg

11 hours ago

One drink in particular keeps the Swedes warm in winter: glögg. The beverage has been a Christmas tradition in Sweden since the 1890s. John Duxbury shares his favourite recipe with The Local.

Sponsored Article
11 reasons students pick Stockholm University
POLL: Swedes back new asylum rules
Sponsored Article
Top five UK weekend getaways from Sweden
Five weirdest Christmas attacks on Sweden's famous straw goat
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
Blog updates

25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »


20 November

Editor’s blog, November 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, It has been a long and busy week for The Local as we reported on..." READ »

Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
People-watching: November 25th
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
Sweden cashes in on new kronor banknotes
jobs available
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: