Labour migrants set sights on Sweden

Labour migrants set sights on Sweden
The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) estimates that 37,000 labour migrants from countries outside the European Union (EU) will seek work permits in Sweden next year.

The information comes from Christina Werner, a Migration Board official in charge of the agency’s planning ahead of a new law which is set to take effect on December 15th.

The new regulations will do away with the strict labour market tests currently required for anyone outside the EU seeking an employment visa in Sweden.

After the change, employers themselves will be able to determine if they wish to hire someone. Under current rules, such a determination is carried out by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

Looking ahead, the Migration Board expects that the new opportunities to receive a work visa will reduce the number of immigrant refugees.

Earlier forecasts by the agency handed over to the government estimated that Sweden could expect 25,000 asylum seekers in 2009.

The 37,000 people expected to enter under the new rules includes not only those seeking work permits, but also their families and relatives.

“It’s hard to predict, but we believe that the flow of refugees will ebb. We know that there are people who today apply for asylum but who really want to apply for work permits,” Werner told news agency TT.

The basic requirement to apply for a work and residence permit is the offer of a job which pays enough for someone to support themselves.

The terms of employment cannot be worse than those which apply to workers covered by collective agreements or which are considered standard practice for a given industry.

After two years a labour migrant can apply for an extended residence permit, if the job remains, and after four years the residence permit can be made permanent.

The proposal is supported by the government and the Green Party.

The Riksdag plans to hold a final vote on the law on November 12th.