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Foreign PhDs 'won't give up' residency rights fight

1 Jun 2012, 13:24

Published: 01 Jun 2012 13:24 GMT+02:00

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"We won't give up," Shiva Habibi, a doctoral candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan – KTH) in Stockholm, told The Local.

Habibi, along with two other PhD candidates at KTH, launched an online petition earlier this year to gather support for a parliamentary motion calling for new residency permit rules for non-European countries.

In just a matter of weeks, the petition garnered more than 3,000 signatures from people supporting permanent residency for foreign doctoral candidates.

A parallel campaign on Facebook urged people to write to members of the Riksdag in an effort to build support for a change that would give foreign PhD students the same opportunity for permanent residency offered to other labour migrants who come to Sweden.

"This is something that PhD candidates spend a lot of time discussing and we thought it was time to take action," Habibi said of the decision to start an online petition.

The grassroots campaign came on the heels of a parliamentary motion, put forward last autumn by Karin Granbom Ellison of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), which called on the government to adopt new rules that would make it easier for PhD candidates from outside the EU/EES-area to stay in Sweden upon completing their doctorates.

Currently, foreign PhD candidates complete their programmes on student residency permits meaning that, despite having jobs and paying taxes, none of the time they spend in Sweden obtaining their doctorates counts toward the four-year residency requirement which is a prerequisite for seeking permanent residency in Sweden.

By contrast, other labour migrants can apply for permanent residency directly after having spent four years living and working in Sweden.

"As soon as we start our PhD programmes, we are employed by the universities. We pay taxes, we work, but after four or five years, we still aren't any closer to gaining permanent residency," Habibi explained.

"If we end up getting hired by a company in Sweden, we end up having to start the whole process over again."

The motion by Granbom referenced findings from a 2011 government inquiry on circular migration which proposed creating a new class of residence permit specifically geared toward PhD candidates that would give them the same rights granted under labour migrant work permits.

"Today, it's unnecessarily difficult for doctoral candidates who come from outside the EU/EES-area to stay in Sweden after completing their doctorates," the motion read.

"This is a huge waste of both competence and millions of kronor in Swedish tax money which is invested in their doctoral education."

According to Habibi, the current rules put Sweden's position as a popular destination for bright, foreign-born researchers at risk.

"Sweden is investing all this money in our education, but risks losing that investment because people may not end up staying," she said.

"We're the kind of immigrants Sweden should want. We're highly educated, we want to stay, but we feel like we're valued less than other immigrant workers and no one knows why."

On Wednesday, Granbom's motion was debated in the Riksdag along with several other bills related to labour migration.

But despite what Liberal Party MP Ulf Nilsson called "widespread" support in parliament for making it easier for foreign PhD students to gain permanent residency in Sweden, the motion was defeated.

Nilsson sits on the social insurance committee which initially took up the motion and explained that PhD candidates shouldn't lose faith simply because the motion didn't pass.

"It's important to note that the committee said it was positively inclined toward the changes," Nilsson told The Local.

"But as the government is currently preparing a broader piece of legislation which includes this along with many other labour migration-related issues, it was voted down."

Nilsson explained that motions submitted by individual MPs rarely pass in the full chamber, but are meant more as a way to put pressure on the government by drawing attention to a particular issue.

"I'm convinced this will happen, but it will take some time," he said.

Story continues below…

"It's regrettable that it's taken the government so long to act, but this is a complex issue."

According to Nilsson, foreign PhD candidates hoping for changes to rule regarding their path to permanent residency in Sweden will likely have to wait "at least until next year".

Despite the setback, Habibi said she and her fellow PhD students have been encouraged by the support they've received thus far.

"The fact that we got 3,000 signatures really says something," she said.

"We're not exactly sure what our next move will be, but we certainly aren't going give up on our efforts."

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

14:21 June 1, 2012 by muscle
I hope the foriegn phd students win.
15:02 June 1, 2012 by Dazzler
Makes perfect sense. Deny highly capable people residence and just hand it out to complete and utter wastes of humanity in the name of asylum. Yep.....good plan!
17:21 June 1, 2012 by khaninsweden
there are some PhD students from Pakistan on govt scholarships, who are having the same feelings to live in Sweden. These students spend allot of govt money, in fact its the money of the common people. These PhD students already sign a contract with the govt that they will return to their homeland and will provide the services. The govt already signed job contract with a high salary. They do not want to provide services in their own country where orphans kids, psychologically tortured, mentally crippled and physically exhausted are just feeding on the dry breast of their mothers. Its a harsh reality which these brutal PhD students do not want to come across. My friends, don;t you think that contaminated blood is running in their veins? They cannot be sincere with Swedish govt and the people as well.
17:46 June 1, 2012 by Janadian
This idea seems great on paper, yet it could get very tricky very quickly. The problem is that it is significantly easier to get a student visa than to get a working visa. At the moment it is extremely difficult for Swedes to find jobs after finishing their PhDs, so this may result in well-educated foreign people, people who would not accept jobs cleaning the floor or picking berries, being unemployed and accepting unemployment and living freely in Sweden. Additionally, once someone becomes employed as a PhD student in Sweden it is impossibly difficult to dismiss them. This creates a problem in this country where too many PhD's get degrees that do not deserve them. I have lived and worked here as a postdoc for 2 years and the quality of PhD students is worryingly variable. If they were to allow this to pass the country would see a sudden increase in PhD students whose final goal is Swedish residency. It's great to have people of higher intelligence in the country, but there are no jobs for them. At least the migrant workers, mentioned in the article, who come in to the country are guaranteed jobs. Don't get me wrong, I think that the idea is wonderful. I would love it if it were to pass. I think what needs to be done first is give the institutions the ability to dismiss a student of poor quality. If this rule passes someone who is not intelligent enough to finish their phd would only need to hang around long enough to hit that 4 year mark, then drop out. Or, perhaps there would be an increase in the number of unjustified degrees.
18:06 June 1, 2012 by entry
Highly educated employed people are not denied residency. Highly educated unemployable people are just as useless as uneducated unemployable people.

Motion 2011/12 Sf259 was too broad and ready for immigration abuse. It would have given Swedish permanent residency to any PhD candidate in any field(art, philosophy, gender equality, etc) and their families after 4yrs regardless if they completed their course of study or had even the remotest hope of being employed and becoming a useful part of Sweden's society. There are several other motions that refine the spirit of the proposal(some of which I tend to agree) for example Sf308 & Sf243.

Citizens Non-EU & EU alike with PhDs have vehemently complained of the difficulties of employment. I have been driven by taxi drivers with PhDs.

The Folkpartiet & Kristdemokraterna who are supporters of this poorly worded PhD residency motion are also the ones that are all for open borders. They turn a blind eye when parents in Non-EU countries push kids on planes so the children can be accepted as refugees and Swedish citizens after only four years so that they can bring over the rest of their families.

I have no problem at all with employed working Non-EU individuals here in Sweden. Niether do I have a problem with a well managed humanitarian refugee immigration process. There are social services, housing, education, employment and most tragically police services that need to be considered regarding Sweden's refugee & immigration fiasco.

I see PhD students as a potential benefit if they gain employment upon graduation(unconfirmed, Someone I tend to believe said that 90-95 percent are in fact employed after graduation, the number of PhD recipients from non-EU countries found unemployable may be less than ten individuals affected each year so this is a 'tempest in a tea cup').

Is the goal a career or EU residency? 4yrs of full-time employment is not a terrible burden. Phd students are first and foremost students. Not a single student would have been accepted as a junior researcher by any of the companies in Sweden that sponsors the research that now grants them this tremendous opportunity or even have been given a work visa. The only reason these students are in Sweden is because they are STUDENTS. Stop the pompous non-sense. PhD students are not employees they are students, yes the weasel words are recognized, stop the charade already, it falls on deaf ears. You get your PhD and you are not needed anymore, that is not a job it is a student program.

There are additional motions in play and I really would not have a problem with a graduate of a technical PhD in a commercially viable field with full employment with a Swedish company being granted permanent residency without waiting another four years after graduation. So in a nut shell I like the spirit of the proposal but the way it has so far been presented in the Riksdag it is dismal and has been soundly rejected.
18:28 June 1, 2012 by mutex
I think PhD students are useful and Sweden really needs them and I hope they government help them stay :)
19:01 June 1, 2012 by DonaldDuck
PhD positions at Swedish Universities are advertised just like any other job ads out there, and selected applicants are interviewed before being employed as a PhD researcher (I prefer the name "PhD researcher" to "PhD student", because some dumb people are just reading "student" part and missing the whole picture). Ask a native Swedish PhD researcher whether they consider themselves a student. Absolutely no!! Not at least the ones I talked to. If the position a PhD researcher is holding were not considered a job, then there would have been pension plan for them. It is a job! And an employed PhD researcher, not only does course works, the amount of which depends on the field the researcher is in, s/he also does teaching and administrative tasks at her/his respective department, just like any other faculties.

The advantages of making PhD researchers eligible for PR after graduation far far outweighs the drawbacks that may come along. Doing a PhD is tough. And most, if not all, PhD researchers know that earning a PhD does not make them more privileged than other non-PhDs. They are asking for equal treatment. Not all PhD graduates want to stay in Sweden after graduation, but having the possibility of choosing whether to stay in Sweden takes off one burden from their shoulders and they can spend the time and energy doing more research or productive work than thinking about what to do after graduation.

How could one expect non-EU PhD researcher to find a job before graduation when most companies first consider Swede applicants and when there are also Swede PhDs who cannot find a job soon after graduation? Except for some exceptions, on average, it takes longer for a non-EU PhDs to find a job in industry and they should AT LEAST be given this opportunity to look for an employment. This does not mean all non-EU PhDs will choose to look for a job in Sweden. It just for those who want to contribute to Swedish society in a real way.
19:50 June 1, 2012 by entry
It has been stated that 90-95 percent of non-EU PhD candidates in technical and economically viable fields of study are in fact employed immediately after graduation and receipt of their PhD. In looking at the numbers there may perhaps be less than 10 PhD technical graduates in economically viable fields of study who each year are sent back to their country of origin some under work study contracts with their home governments that require them to utilize their new found skills to better their home country.

Look at the numbers and why is this an issue if education is primary? Are you here as a student or are you here to immigrate to the EU? If you complete your PhD and gain employment you have a clear path to Swedish citizenship.

An unemployable art, philosophy or Gender studies PhD is just as much a liability as an uneducated bum on the street. Wait, the bum on the street may actually be willing to pick up a broom or a mop and work every once in a while. Regardless the numbers are small and the activists behind this measure are not disclosing the numbers of individuals that the universally rejected motion would effect.
19:50 June 1, 2012 by Malangi31
I am form Pakistan and strongly believe that "ONLY THOSE CANDIDATES WHO GET Phd IN SWEDEN ON THEIR OWN SHOULD BE GIVEN PR " not the ones who are already here on the basis of some government bond or scholarship. If there is any body from Academia between all people above this comment would understand easily how hard and effort taking is to prove to be eligible for 4 years Phd grant from Swedish university. You have to show your research skills in whole 18 years of education, Scientific publications, Research findings then some one can convince Mr. Professor to apply for funding.

Its not a child's play.....EDUCATE yourself!, you fools
20:25 June 1, 2012 by Iraniboy
As of today, there is basically no single opposition among Swedish parties against this idea. Not even among extreme left and rights so there is no chance that it won't happen no matter how much deluded people like @entry cry about it! However since it is initiated by parties within the government itself, it has to be proposed via government's proposal rather than parliamentary motion. It is just the matter of time and they are already on the right track!
20:42 June 1, 2012 by entry
@20:25 June 1, 2012 by Iraniboy

Yeah, let me open the window so the stick of your post does not fester. That explains the sound defeat by every political party in Sweden much to the contrary of what you have stated.

I agree with the spirit of the law but there needs to be some refinement. Iraniboy I am not that too far away from you on this issue, I wish you could open your eyes and see that.
22:10 June 1, 2012 by sultanfahad
You are very well aware of the migration laws before you start your PhD. So why pushing to change it now. Should have thought about it before.
23:08 June 1, 2012 by engagebrain
Actually there is no shortage of graduates with PhDs - there simply are not enough jobs for the number of PhDs being generated - at least jobs commensurate with the skills being acquired.

It is also relevant that students doing PhDs in Sweden are the best paid in Europe.
00:20 June 2, 2012 by Rodney
News, 1 June 2022: "Foreign PhDs 'won't give up' Sharia law fight".

"We won't give up," Said Mohamad, a doctoral candidate at the Islamic Institute of Technology (IIT) in Malmo, told The Local.

Mohamad, along with two hundred thousands students and PhD candidates at IIT, launched an online petition earlier this year to gather support for a parliamentary motion calling for new sharia law rules for Sweden to replace the civil code.

In just a matter of weeks, the petition garnered more than 3,000,000 signatures from people supporting sharia law living in Sweden.

"We're the kind of immigrants Sweden should want. We're highly energetic willing to fight for our rights,we are experienced in conflicts, we are young and we want to bring our large families to stay, but we feel like we're valued less than other non-muslim immigrant and no one knows why."

A parallel campaign on Facebook urged people to write to members of the Riksdag in an effort to build support for a change that would give Arabic speaking people the same opportunity for unemployment benefits and permanent residency offered to other Swedish citizens who live in Sweden.

"This is something that Al Kaida, Hamas militants and the Islamic Forces of the Iranian Revolution spend a lot of time discussing and we thought it was time to take action," Mohamad said of the decision to start a country-wide demonstration againt the police forces and liberaly dressed female.

"As soon as come to Sweden, we are unemployed. We dont pay taxes, we dont work, but after four or five days, we still dont get any closer to gaining full unemployment benefits" Mohamad explained.

"If we end up getting hired by a company in Sweden, we will lose our unemployment benefits and have to start the whole process over again."

"This is a huge waste of both competence and millions of kronor in Swedish tax money which is invested in us under current law."

According to Mohamad, the current rules put Sweden's position as a popular destination for bright, foreign-born researchers but not for Arabic speaking people who do not necessarily wish to work.

"Sweden is investing all this money in bringing us here and paying us money but risks losing that investment because people may not end up staying without sharia law," he said.

"The fact that we got 3,000,000 signatures really says something," he said.

"We're not exactly sure what our next move will be, but we are collecting arms and ammunition and we aren't going to give up on our efforts."
01:30 June 2, 2012 by andttrip
The simplest way of saving money is to starte charging tuition fees for non-EU PhD students rather than salary paid. It is your responsibility to secure funding before going to Sweden. The salary of PhDs can only be in the pockets of EU citizens. Granting salary to non-EU PhD students is an action of misusing local taxation. Now Swedish parliament should discuss this topic other than granting permanent residence permit to non EU students. By the way, Sweden should stop offering free Swedish language courses to all non-EU students. They should pay for such course. Additioanlly, all non-EU students must buy private health insurance no matter how long they will stay in Sweden. Free health services can only offer to EU citizens. It is a regulation of many Euroepan countries. Sweden should revolutonize these rules to save public expenditure that comes from Swedish tax payers . All non EU students can not have any free accesses to public funds and services. They must pay all services. Moreover, migration board should signicantly raise application fee for residence permit, since all your neighbouring countries at least doubles the current Swedish fee. The Netherlands currently charges 600 Euros for initial application. Why should migration board charges so low application fee? Why not charge at least 3000 SEK for initial application and extension?

Secondly, non EU PhD graduates should go back to your home country, especially those from developing countries. Your homeland needs your talent, wisdow to contribute. Due to generous Swedish government, you can well educated until PhD level without paying any fees. If you are moral and responsible, please go back to your country of origin.

Thirdly, PhD students have 4 years to find a job in Sweden. If you can not find a job within 4 years, you definitely are worsen than asylums. Do not claim extended time to find a job in Sweden. You have already got time.

Fourthly, no country in the world automatically grants permanent residence permit to PhD graduates. It is illogical and absurd.

Lastly, I should claim that I am a non-EU citizen. But I always stand on the side of EU citizen whose rights must be fully protected without any harms.
10:35 June 2, 2012 by Nilspet

PhD students do not have 4 years to find a job in Sweden. They already have a job!!!

They have to take care of their "research job" and most of them do not have time and oppotunities to go to SFI like most uneducated immigrants who rely on handouts and the like.

PhD students or PhD candidates are the most valuable human assets. And it is PERFECTLY sane to grant them PR or at least a residence permit of 2-3 years so that they can establish themselves in Sweden (go to SFI, start business, etc etc). Sweden has been governed for too long by uneducated politicians. Look at Germany, Canada or even Denmark. They treat highly educated people as assets not waste like Sweden has been doing. As of now 30 000 asylum seekers are granted permanent resident permits in Sweden yearly and they become Swedish citizens in a few years after that. Do they contribute more to Sweden then PhD students who conduct research, teach, connect, ...

WAKE UP Sweden!
11:16 June 2, 2012 by Iraniboy

I think you cannot discuss with persons like @andtrip @entry who do not have an epsilon experience of how a PhD program looks like in Sweden. They argue based on assumption of a classic studies based program. They don't know that PhD program is more of an employment as a consultant to do a project. Not to mention teaching and administration duties. Not very surprisingly they don't know that equivalent PhDs in other European countries is path to citizenship! They have no idea how Swedish academical figures all around the country have their full support for this and the last but the least, they don't know that te reason why it is like this today is because Swedish lawmakers hadn't anticipated about this situation at all at the time they wrote immigration rules. Not that they didn't want this from the beginning.

After all it is not these un-informed persons who will make decision so relax and trust the system!
14:14 June 2, 2012 by andttrip

Why you compare to asylum seekers? They are in hardship in terms of psychology and body. If you are human being, please live in Syria for a year. You can enjoy the life of refugees. Sweden is a humanitarian country that protects asylums. How innocent you are!

Look at Bologna Process, PhD is a third cycle of DEGREE STUDY. All European countries regard PhD is a study, not work. You are completely confused. It is a study program that tuition fees must be charged. You can work as a teaching assistant or undertake some administrative works to reduce tuition fees. But Sweden should discuss charging tuition fees for non EU students. It is a way to save public expenditure.

Highly educated persons=highly demanded labourers? If you are logical, you can not put an equal mark.

Look at Germany, no federal states treat PhD as a worker. You must work and pay consecutive 5 years' tax before application for a permanent residence permit. Although Denmark regards PhD as a worker, you should work at least 4 years and pass at least Danish level 2 to get a permanent residence permit. Unfortunately, all PhDs in Denmark only last 3 years. All graduates are not be eligible to apply for permanent residence permit.

I wonder you why you criticize Swedish policy here without considering transferring your credits to your desired countries, like Denmark, Germany.
15:37 June 2, 2012 by Mrs Hina
lol even there arises any policy it would not be atall for all PHD students lol..Only students who are on international scholarships unlike students coming from Pakistan with a bond..Difference is very clear that those people who get PR after four yrs they r on Work permit and others are on Student visa..There is one clear and obvious difference..I hope people who are on international scholarship do get the PR...

@Khaninsweden ur psychologically ill u need checkup!
17:22 June 2, 2012 by andttrip
@ Iraniboy

Do you think you betray Iran? Do you need to foward all your wordings to your ambassadors?

Be a docile baby and keep silence.
18:41 June 2, 2012 by Studentra


Obviously you do NOT have any clue of academic environments.

I really have doubt if you guys have university degree ?

By the way I want to say , take it EASY , It's summer now :)
18:43 June 2, 2012 by Iraniboy

I strictly do not think when I see someone like you. I smile and go :)
19:05 June 2, 2012 by Nilspet

1) i am NOT a PhD student but I work within the academia so I know what i am talking about. We are living in a globalized world and we need highly qualified people because they have potentials. That they do not get employed right after their PhD is nothing strange. Even Swedes do not unless they go into industries. You usually go for at least one postdoc stint (you know what postdoc is?) and then it can still take many years before they get a permanent position but their research and their ties to Sweden are vital to our competitiveness.

2) You are SO wrong about Denmark. Lots of non-EU citizens who have at least MSc have been granted PR in Denmark. Please study more about e.g. Canada so you will have a better perspective.

3) I am not saying anything bad about asylum seekers but if Sweden can be so generous to asylum seekers then they shoud also treat non-EU PhD candidates and researchers at least humanely because it is more likely that these people will be important tax payers to Sweden. Without enough tax money you cannot be generous to asymlum seekers. So while you are welcoming asylum seekers you should open door for competent foreigners, too! And the current visa system for non-EU students are not working well. One year at a time is stupid! Look at how other civilized countries do.

4) It does not matter whether non-EU doctors go back to their home country or not. Giving them a PR will allow them to have better ties with Sweden. Better ties with Sweden also mean better for their countries!
19:11 June 2, 2012 by bow290
so whats wrong with the homeland guys?
19:16 June 2, 2012 by andttrip

I have master degrees from both UK and Australia. In these two countries, PhD students must pay tuition fees even they involve in research or lab activities. US and Canada are the same. Sweden is not a charity that should apportion research funds to anyone. On the contrary, Sweden should start charging tuition fees for all non EU PhD students. It is the only way to avoid misusing research fundings that come from Swedish taxpayers.

It is noticeable that PhD is just study; you need to be supervised by tutors and researchers. To most extent, you are just an associate assistant, not a researcher. Look at recruitment ads of UK, a researcher must have PhD degree.

@ Iraniboy

You are a revolutionist and creator. Why not go back to Iran to change your country? You probably can raise lots of topics to your president, e.g. democracy. Do you think so?
21:50 June 2, 2012 by sparc
I didn't read all of the comments and I'm sorry if my laziness results in a comment already covered.

That said, there might be an in between solution. The road to a PhD goes through the two year mark of the Licentiate degree. A solution could be that the years spent after acquiring that degree could count towards a residency, coupled with a sensible time limit. For example, count towards a residency only up to two of the whichever many remaining years the candidate requires to finish.

This gives the university the ability to filter out the bad apples by not granting them the Lic. while students get a significant half-sized stepping stone. Besides, capable students who also make the effort to integrate (i.e. learn Swedish) are usually employed right after completion of their studies.
23:12 June 2, 2012 by grace89
phd students are employed and taxed for four to five years in sweden. After four years work , postdoc can apply perminant residence even their future are uncertain. Why does this policy not apply to phd students? it is unfair!
02:25 June 3, 2012 by qingxuanmurong
The point is the time (4-5 years, continuous) spent should be taken into account when one PhD gradudate is applying for PR, once s/he has found a job after graduation. Take Denmark for example, one of the requirements to apply for PR is that you should have lived in Denmark for 4 years. Thus, if you have a job after 3-yr's PhD study, and then you only need work one year more to apply. Isn't it more fair? Similarly, say if a Swedish PhD garduate found a job in Sweden, s/he could immediately apply for PR or Citizenship, given the time requirement is 4 or 5 years in Sweden.

My another point of view is that the immigration policy should treat PhD students differently from refugees. It is not fair to apply one policy to both. After all, they are not comparable, provided that the condition, value, contribution degree of dependency on society, etc. are different. Besides, one is already a tax payer, and one could be tax consumer for a long time. However, it does challenge those policy makers. If they are knowledgeable and diligent, both benefit. Otherwise, PhD students suffer with present policy, due to the makers' laziness and arrogance. Then it is out of control, and we can only complain.

Anyway, to my knowledge, no matter it is Denmark, Australia or Canada, the people with higher education obtained in those countries are always more welcome and benefit from their scholarship in terms of the immigration policy.

Of course it is up to Sweden that what kind of immigrants she wants attract and keep, as well as what society value she is delighted to hold. For PhD students, I think the main considerations should be if we enjoy the work and if there is room to apply the research outcome to practice, and if we treat fairly in accordance to the contribution. The whole globe is our arena, not just Sweden. The one who repects the PhD gains, and the one who deappreicates the PhD loses.

BTW, I am a non-eu citizen, have got PhD from Denmark, and Master from Sweden, ever lived in Canada, and now working in Sweden with business and cooperation with Denmark and Germany.
07:05 June 3, 2012 by entry
"@18:41 June 2, 2012 by Studentra @andttrip @entry Obviously you do NOT have any clue of academic environments. I really have doubt if you guys have university degree?"

Being educated, successful, a property owner, grey haired, retired, well invested and pretty much set for life I really have a good laugh at you kids in school that delude yourselves into thinking that you have the remotest proximity to a clue about life.

If a Non-EU PhD graduate is found to be unemployable, there is no reason for them to remain in Sweden. Your newly printed PhD and rejection letters from Swedish companies entitles you with a paid Bus/Tram card a ride to the international terminal at the airport. If after 4, 5 or 12 years you have not lined up employment here in Sweden you are pretty useless. If you have no family or business connections and your university has disowned you. Go Home!

It is my understanding that the majority of PhD candidates from Non-EU countries in technical and economically viable fields of study are offered employment & a work visa. Therefore there is no problem and the laws regarding Sweden's immigration do not need to be changed although as I said above I am in favor of parts of several motions before the Swedish government that would relax some of the rules..

So, no Studentra I have no 'clue' about your fantasyland of today's STUDENTS that believe they have actual jobs... instead of realizing that when they graduate the job is gone. I do have a really good grasp on the realities of governments, business and society. I can also smell a snot nosed kid or an moldy academic that has their pockets and hands turned out for money and additional favors. I also recognize that the hostile dialog from what appears to be from EU-residence seekers and not actual valued PhD candidates in technical and economically viable fields has only served to provoke Swedish citizens such as myself to contact each and every political party and all the members of Sweden's Rikstad of the flaws in the Motions and the nefarious motives of lazy, useless "Students" that have been unsuccessfully trying to convince our govt. that you are actually workers that will be unemployable when you graduate. This is unproductive because I am truly sympathetic to the spirit of the motion.

Motion 2011/12 Sf259 was soundly rejected. In the delusional state of several of the proponents it is claimed this rejection is a victory. Whatever... I am reminded of a particular Monty Python skit by you silly people.
09:31 June 3, 2012 by Iraniboy

You have your hairs grayed but in your little world of properties and investment, you haven't seen that the world is changing from classical jobs to more of consultancies and it is exactly what PhD is today in most European countries.

Like I said before it is clearly stated in the Utskotts suggestion why the Motion is rejected. It is rejected because it is already proposed in SOU by the government. You and your ilk with your old fashioned, bigoted and narrow-minded definition of 'Work' which comes from 1940s are no longer accepted in today's society!
09:40 June 3, 2012 by Nilspet
We can categorize people who reject this motion into 2 groups:

1) They are uneducated and ignorant not knowing what PhD education truly means for the country. They are of course forgiven because they lack the education and the right kind of information.

2) They are highly educated people who fear competition. They are afraid that they will lose their job, etc etc. This group cannot be forgiven for their stupidity. We want

Sweden to compete well in the globalized world now and in the future, and certainly not as a country producing cheap products like China, Vietnam, etc. And even China is trying to persuade PhD holders from all over the world to move there! We want Sweden to be a knowledge-based society where new innovations are created and new ideas are being turned into reality. This way Sweden can sustain better! PhD candidates, PhD holders and reseachers contribute a lot to this scenario! It is "insane and sick" that we grant work permit to foreigners who can take up jobs as cleaners and restaurant workers while we block and hinder non-EU PhD graduates to settle down in our country. It is perfectly fine to grant them PR even they do not have any employment. Sweden grants PR to lots of uneducated immmigrants who move here due to family ties as well as refugees who have never paid income taxes whatsoever. Why can we not be fair for the other group, too? While PhD candidates are undertaking their education (doing research) they have no time to study Swedish at SFI, integration courses, etc. They focus mostly on succeeding their program and still they integrate better with the Swedish society better than most other immigrants. When a university graduates a PhD candidate it gains points which are used for international ranking, etc. So it is only beneficial for Swedish universities to graduate PhD students no matter they are EU citizens or not. We do not select PhD students into a program based on nationalities, but on their qualifications. And for those who reject this motion, look at AstraZeneca! The world no longer believes that Sweden is a great nation in pharmaceutical research because if it were really great while then AstraZeneca would drop their research here completely and lay of 1000+ researchers and some of them are going to leave Sweden and bring their competence to another country. So it is important to keep as many PhD holders in our country because they have potentials. They may not get a job directly after education-- part due to our outdated political tradition that level of education is not important for a job. This tradition no longer works in today's world especially when big bosses are Chinese, American, Japanese, German, etc who values importance of education more than those outdated folks in this country do. Big bosses in big firms in China, Germany, Japan are often those with PhD degrees.
18:55 June 3, 2012 by mibrooks27
Sweden has quite enough actual Swedes, the children or grand children, who someone who left Sweden for North America wishing to re-eneter Sweden. We simply do not need "foreigners" as permanent residents or even as students. Give them the boot!
00:44 June 4, 2012 by Nilspet
@ mibrooks27

And you mean that Swedes should only live in Sweden, right?

If that is your true opinion (even if it is totally ......), people will respect it but the world does not work that way man.

Over 55% of Swedish wealth comes from abroad! We are wealthy because we trade with foreign nations and having qualified foreigners in our country is necessary because they are important links!
03:38 June 4, 2012 by entry
@00:44 June 4, 2012 by Nilspet

"We are wealthy because we trade with foreign nations and having qualified foreigners in our country is necessary because they are important links! "

So send those who after they earn their degrees are found to be useless, unemployed and unemployable and complaining on user forums back to their home countries.

The ones that can work do so, the others complain and need to be sent packing.
09:23 June 4, 2012 by Iraniboy

You have it wrong. I'm putting the Utskott's decision that was approved by the majority of PMs to remove any confusion. They are suggesting to wait for the government because the government has already approved it! Besides like I said before since the suggestion is from coalition government, they don't want to do a parallel job one in Riksdag one in the government.

"Doktorander vid högskola eller universitet får uppehållstillstånd som studenter även om de parallellt med sina studier i många fall har en anställning. Medföljande familjemedlemmar kan få uppehållstillstånd i Sverige, men inte arbetstillstånd om inte de själva uppfyller förutsättningarna för att få tillstånd som arbetskraftsinvandrare. Uppehållstillstånd för studier utgör inte grund för att efter fyra år inom en femårsperiod kunna beviljas ett permanent uppehållstillstånd, vilket uppehållstillstånd för arbete medför. En doktorand är, när anställningen som doktorand avslutas, således hänvisad till att ansöka om ett uppehållstillstånd för arbete i Sverige.

För den som antagits till utbildning på forskarnivå föreslår Kommittén för cirkulär migration och utveckling i sitt slutbetänkande att det ska införas en ny tillståndsform, uppehållstillstånd för doktorander. Denna tillståndsform ska exempelvis ge möjlighet att kvalificera sig för ett permanent uppehållstillstånd. Utskottet noterar att kommittén också föreslår att familjemedlemmar som har beviljats tidsbegränsat uppehållstillstånd även ska kunna beviljas arbetstillstånd.

Regeringens beredning av betänkandet bör avvaktas. Motion 2011/12:Sf259 (FP) avstyrks med det anförda."
12:54 June 4, 2012 by nightwolf
I just have to point out one issue to all dear PhD students in Sweden who think they are doing such an extraordinary job by doing 4 years PhD here. The quality of PhD studies in Swedish universities is way below the quality of PhD in some other European universities in countries such as Germany or Switzerland for example.

I know few PhD students at KTH who do not have any journal/confrence academic publication during their PhD studies!!! Can anybody explain this to me? What they do is always having party and traveling around. I compare it to some friends of mine who study at ETH in Zurich which they should have several publications and should work really hard otherwise they'll be kicked out of university!!! The point is doing PhD is such an easy task to do in Sweden which seriously does not deserve to end up in permanent residence!!!
16:27 June 4, 2012 by mibrooks27
Nilspet - You don't get any benefit from "trading" with others, you gain by *selling* them stuff, by buying none or as little of their products as possible. The same holds true with their student overflow and guest workers. You don't want them. They are expensive to educate, they and their family is expensive to acclimate, and studies show around half of them not being able to acclimate and returning home with tales that are detrimental to us. It's even worse when they cannot return home. As we have seen with thousands of refugees in Malmo, Gothenberg, and other Swedish cities, those refugees, an this is most of them, who don't and wont "fit in" turn to violence and create troubles. I don't know about you, but I get a little sick of some Arab giving me and my girl friend dirty looks for merely walking down the street, holding hands. Guest workers, guest students, refugees, are a losing proposition. Sweden needs to take care of it's own. Provide a right of return for the Sweden's expat community, trapped in that hellhole that is the US.
18:07 June 4, 2012 by drfarhanshah
I strongly feel we should Thanks the Swedish Govt. for giving us PhD positions plus scholarships and other benefits and a high standard of education.

Its our Duty to go back to our respective countries and try to Implement and develop our nations on the same pattern, rather than fight for some residency permit all for a market which is actually quite hostile to non-Caucasians (Lets call a spade a sapde)

I am not racist but I can understand the fear...and why not its their country they have every right to Implement rules which should safeguard the future of the local population............
20:23 June 4, 2012 by DonaldDuck
Somebody like #15 is so jealous of non-EU PhDs for their ability to earn the highest academic degrees which he/she cannot obtain.


Thirdly, PhD students have 4 years to find a job in Sweden. If you can not find a job within 4 years, you definitely are worsen than asylums. Do not claim extended time to find a job in Sweden. You have already got time.

--This alone says how stupid and again how jealous people like #15 are. Just the fact that those students from underdeveloped countries who didn't have such a good access to education from the beginning out-perform you and turn out to be far more intelligent and knowledgeable than you makes you jealous, of course. This is perfectly understandable. Human nature it is.


You are comparing some weaker PhDs with strong ones. I can give you the same example in the reversed direction. There are really outstanding PhDs, both Swede and non-EU, at Swedish Universities. Actually they are plenty. While, in Germany or Switzerland or any other EU countries, there are also really below average PhDs.
01:24 June 5, 2012 by SecondGen

These PhD students knew the rules when they started their quest. I would not advocate making it easier for PhD's who either didn't read the rules or didn't understand the rules when they first started.

They aren't off to a flying start either way and these probably aren't the self starters you want to keep around.
08:16 June 5, 2012 by Iraniboy

If you have a PhD from a private university and a project funded by a company then it is in fact you who pay to the government not the other way around!!!


That statement in generally true but in this case there is lack of clarity in the law about PhDs. What is happening now is based on Immigration Office interpretation of lack of law in this regard. So nobody in the beginning in Sweden wanted the rules to be like this. That's why basically this change is fiercely supported by Swedes themselves.
09:31 June 8, 2012 by Descartes
Comment: In order to give some structure to conversation, I'd rather ask some questions related to the issue: 1) Why should someone (non Swede) choose Sweden for getting PHD? 2) How many PHDs are needed to "satisfy market demand"? 3) What is a quality of PHD education in Sweden, compared to those of US/Br.? 4) Do Swedish PHDs have any chance of working in top universities (MIT, Harvard U, Michigan U, Oxford U, etc.) worldwide? 5) What are the criteria of selection PHD students from the pool of applicants? How are those criteria compared to those of US/Br universities? I'm not competent to answer all of them, though I have some answers to: 3) PHD education in Sweden (and education in general) is characterized with roughly the same quality across the country, thus using the term "Swedish PHD" is rather forgivable. "Swedish PHD" quality is not comparable with that of top US/British universities, though it is comparable with that of "below average" US/Br Universities, e.g. University of South Dakota, Ashland University, Oregon University etc. Consequently, I can answer the question 4: 4) The chances are meager. I'd rather say that probability is close to 0. 5) Criteria are positively correlated to university level education in Sweden. Overall level of graduates will define the overall level of PHDs. Most probably overall level of graduates is positively correlated to 2 factors: 1) admission criteria in universities and 2) level of education received as graduates/undergraduates. Admission criteria give possibility to choose intelligent students, eager to study. Level of education prepares willing graduates to proceed with PHD degrees. Admission criteria for undergraduate /graduate Swedish students are not efficient compared to those of well recognized US/Br. Universities (no passing of SAT/Gmat/GRE is needed for admission). Subsequently, even if the education level in Swedish universities were comparable to that of top US universities, vast majority of students (I would guess more than 99%) still wouldn't be able to catch up, because of lower skills and overall competences compared to those admitted in top US universities. PHD students are chosen from the pool of these graduates, whose overall education level is not comparable with that of top US/Br university graduates. Subsequently Swedish PHDs are not as qualified as PHDs, graduated from Duke, Stanford, MIT etc; Less qualified pool of PHDs provide less qualified professors who give less qualified lectures to less qualified students, who have been chosen from less qualified applicants by less qualified committee. Do you see the vicious circle?
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