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Most work permits given to low-skilled workers

The Local · 29 Jan 2013, 09:44

Published: 29 Jan 2013 09:44 GMT+01:00

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Only one third of the 60,000 jobs filled since the law came into effect have actually landed in the hands of the much-needed specialists, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

The findings come from a review of official statistics carried out by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) in order to assess the impact of the law.

"Many employers are looking for low costs and menial work, not unique competence," Thord Ingesson, LO's expert on migration politics, explained to DN.

When Sweden's parliament approved legislation in 2008 to allow non-EU citizens to come to the country to work, the intention was that the work permits would allow high-skilled specialists an easier ticket into the Swedish work force in industries where there was a shortage of Swedish workers.

The law stipulates that individual employers rather than the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) decide whether there is a need to recruit foreign workers.

Instead, the majority of the permits have gone to workers in the restaurant, construction, and cleaning industries - areas that are already saturated with Swedish workers and where unemployment levels are high.

Ingesson estimates that at least half of the workers with two-year work permits in Sweden have paid for them.

He claims that between 5,000 and 10,000 permits have been sold, with prices from 30,000 kronor ($4,670) all the way up to over 100,000 kronor.

"Some buy their work permit contract, and get a safer way through the Schengen area, but they don't necessarily get a job," he explained.

"Or they buy it through 'installment' - that is, foreigners working for slave wages, thereby dumping the labour market for the unemployed in Sweden."

Since the start of 2012, the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has vowed to tighten controls on the issuance of work permits, now requiring employers to prove that they will be able to pay workers' wages for at least three months.

Story continues below…

While the initiative has led to fewer applications and more rejections, around 10,000 of the 16,500 work permits issued in 2012 were for blue collar jobs, according to DN.

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Your comments about this article

12:44 January 29, 2013 by engagebrain
with a high youth unemployment rate the last thing Sweden needs to do is to import more unskilled workers.
13:28 January 29, 2013 by hpunlimited
And people are complaning that the government fails to reduce unemployment?well here's your answer.
14:05 January 29, 2013 by jahid
Many of my friends completed their Master degree and Phd, and had to leave Sweden just because they did not have any work permit and there were not scope to extend visa as well. If they could get a chance I am sure they would contribute more to the economy and culture then these low skilled people. I wonder why it is so tough for Swedish law makers to realize this.
14:13 January 29, 2013 by skatty
I think Swedish authorities are not really able to evaluate how the labor market works internationally. The authorities believe that high-skilled labors are waiting on the line to move to Sweden!

First, high-skilled labors don't jeopardize their positions by immigration if the chance to find job is low in the host countries. There must be obvious signs of employment like dot-com bubble (1997-2000), or employment in the health care to encourage them to immigrate.

Second, Sweden from cultural and geographical point of view is very boring. In one hand Swedish language is practically useless anywhere else; in another hand Swedes wish everybody learn Swedish. It is hard to be tempted to immigrate to Sweden. It really needs some clear and obvious encouragements.

High-skilled labors have to invest more time and capital to earn qualification but get less payback by immigration to Sweden (unless job market and payment would be good enough).

Low-skilled labors invest less time and capital to receive a qualification, and it's more logical for them to move around for job (even they would not immigrate with low payback from their investment).
14:26 January 29, 2013 by intrepidfox
The low skilled workers are just coming to Sweden to work with their family members.
16:34 January 29, 2013 by Programmeny
I'm an European, need no work permit and have been trying to find a job in any kind of field, at any skill level, from shoveling snow to picking berries but nothing and nobody is hiring. I've been already in Sweden for the past 2 years and have a personnumer and speak Swedish.

This piece of news just baffles me. I think they are playing poker in the government instead of actually making informed decisions.
05:57 January 30, 2013 by star10
Sweden has the most stupid immigration law when it comes to skilled immigration. Sweden kicks out engineers who receive training here. Foreign graduates are forced to leave Sweden after they receive a very high quality education. And then, Sweden looks for skilled worker abroad "to fill the gap".
19:45 January 30, 2013 by rohermoker
The main reason that a Country imports the low skilled worker is to keep wage rates low. The main complaint I hear from business here in the US is that cannot hire "Americians" at the wages they pay. In the US, if the imigrant(illeagle) worker wants more money the company call imigration and has the whole lotis deported, usally the day before pay day.
21:51 January 31, 2013 by Nora
"Most work permits given to low-skilled workers".

Are four years needed to realize this?! Couldn't the supposedly "decision makers" realize the mechanism behind the labor migration regulation? couldn't at least they take a look to other nation experiences on this issue?

It is OBVIOUS (and was, not only 4 years back but from many more years before) that there MUST be a regulation to prioritize (and specify) the labor sectors that one country needs and allow ONLY those sectors (that cannot been filled by the local resources) to get in. You don't have enough engineers then get ONLY engineers in. You don't have hamburger flippers, then get ONLY ham flippers in.

And what i am afraid is yet to come. Shining minds will pass a law to remove the labor migration law from the next year completely and allow no one to come in as a fix to their lame law of 2008 instead of just changing the "labor migration law" to "SKILLED labor migration law".
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