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Explained: Why do LinkedIn job ads lead to skilled workers being deported?

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Explained: Why do LinkedIn job ads lead to skilled workers being deported?
Thousands of international workers have been caught up in Sweden's work permit bureaucracy. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se
16:42 CET+01:00
Finding a job on LinkedIn has led to several skilled professionals being ordered to leave Sweden. The Local explains why.

In order to receive a work permit in Sweden, the job and the employer must meet certain criteria.

Some of these are put in place in order to reduce the risk of workers being exploited. For example, the salary and conditions offered must be "at least on par" with the industry standard, or those set out in collective bargaining agreements. 

And one requirement states that the employer must "advertise the position in Sweden and within EU/EEA and Switzerland for a minimum of ten days". This is to ensure that EU citizens have priority for jobs.

The easiest way to prove this has been done is to advertise the position via the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), which means it is searchable in the European job portal Eures. Otherwise, employers are required to prove that they have met the requirement.

Swedish Migration Court has ruled in several cases that advertising a job on LinkedIn alone does not meet these criteria, even though the professional network counts 100 million users across Europe.

One of the first cases to make headlines in Sweden was that of Bangladesh native Syed Latif, who was ordered to leave Sweden when he applied for residency, because his first job here had been advertised on LinkedIn and not Eures.

"When I got the rejection letter I said 'what?' It was unbelievable," he told The Local at the time.

But later judgments have set a precedent that a LinkedIn job ad isn't sufficient cause for a permit rejection.

An MP asked the EU Commission for clarification over the freedom of movement laws, and in August 2016 it gave the answer that "jobseekers are in practice entitled to use different recruitment channels [...] and EU legislation does not require that all vacancies be conveyed at EU level".

In Sweden, legislation passed in 2017 means that permits should not be rejected if action was taken to correct a mistake before it was pointed out by the Migration Agency.

And judgments from the Migration Supreme Court have set a precedent that decisions should be based on an overall assessment of factors (or helhetsbedömning), meaning that one minor mistake should not derail an otherwise good application.

But that hasn't stopped LinkedIn job ads continuing to cause problems for work permit holders. 

Australian business developer Aniel Bhaga told The Local of how he had received a deportation order from Sweden in October 2019, which cited his former employers' use of LinkedIn to advertise his role as one of two problems.

That was despite the fact that in an appeal of his original rejection (received in 2015), he pointed to the later court judgments and the principle of helhetsbedömning.

Have you been caught up in Sweden's work permit bureaucracy? Get in touch if you would like to share your experience as an international worker.

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