Swedish work permit applications increase by 50 percent

Swedish work permit applications increase by 50 percent
Permits for work as berry-pickers are those to increase most. Photo: Rickard Nilsson/TT
A growing number of non-EU citizens are applying for permits to work in Sweden, with a near 50 percent increase in the first six months of 2018 compared to 2017.

The Swedish Migration Agency Migrationsverket released new figures on Thursday showing that by the end of June 15,000 people had applied for a first-time work permit in Sweden, a significant increase on the 10,700 applications by this time in 2017.

The group with the biggest increase is those looking for permits as berry-pickers. In the first six months of last year 3,100 people applied for such a permit, while this year the figure is 5,000.

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Other groups are also increasing however, including in fields requiring specialist qualifications.

“We see an increase in applications within both high and low-skilled professions,” Migrationsverket analyst Helena Carlestam said in a statement.

Migrationsverket studied the reasons why more citizens from outside the EU want to come and work in Sweden.

“The increase is largely because there is a huge demand for labour in Sweden. That's something that the Swedish Public Employment Service noted in their latest forecast,” Carlestam explained.

Negative press about internationals having work permits rejected over minor technicalities do not appear to have lessened the number of people applying to work in the country, she said:

“The trend looks set to continue. The assessment is that the number of work permits in many fields will continue to increase.”

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