Spotify staff could lose work permits: report

Spotify staff could lose work permits: report
Spotify's offices in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT
Dozens of Spotify workers may be forced to leave Sweden because of an error that could lead to authorities rejecting their work permit extension, according to a Swedish broadcaster.

The Local has previously reported on the long and winding road many foreign professionals face to get a work permit in Sweden – and the many hurdles they risk falling on along the way.

Rising star IT developer Tayyab Shabab sparked debate earlier this year after he revealed he risks being deported because his previous employer forgot to take out occupational pension insurance for him.

But although his is the most high-profile case this year – thanks to a huge campaign to get him to stay, including a petition signed by 10,000 people – his is just one of many similar cases.

According to broadcaster TV4's investigative news documentary show 'Kalla Fakta', foreign developers working for Swedish music streaming giant Spotify could be next in line for deportation.

Citing unnamed sources, the show reports that 16 of Spotify's IT specialists “have or will have” problems getting a work permit extension because the company failed to take out an occupational pension or health insurance for some of its staff before September 2013.

According to 'Kalla Fakta', another 25 people who have since quit and are working for other companies in Sweden are also affected by the error.

Spotify, whose founder Daniel Ek signed the 'Back Tayyab' petition, declined to comment.

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A Migration Agency official told The Local in November that a court ruling last year has made the agency check reapplications for work permits more extensively, including that all conditions for the first permit were met.

This currently includes even minor errors made by an employer, even if the applicant themselves were not aware at the time that a mistake had been made. It has stirred debate among politicians, campaign groups and within the Migration Agency too, but it has said it is bound by the rules.

A parliamentary committee on social insurance told the government last month to examine how work permit rules could be improved. The amendment will be added to an ongoing inquiry on foreign workers and the report on the amendment will be presented in spring 2017.

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