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

Finding a job on LinkedIn has led to several skilled professionals being ordered to leave Sweden. The Local explains why.

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/

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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For members


What are my rights while I wait for my Swedish residence permit to be extended?

Many foreigners living in Sweden need to have a residence permit to live in the country legally. Permits are issued for two years at a time and can be renewed 30 days before expiry, at the earliest. But with waiting times exceeding 8 months for many applicants, just what are your rights while you wait to hear back?

What are my rights while I wait for my Swedish residence permit to be extended?

Can I keep working in Sweden?

It depends. If you have a residence permit which allows you to work in Sweden, have held that residence permit for at least six months and apply for an extension before your old permit expires, you still have the right to work in Sweden while you wait for the Migration Agency to make a decision on your permit application.

You can apply for a new residence permit 30 days before your old permit expires, at the earliest, and you can’t get a new residence permit before your old one has run out.

Can I leave Sweden?

Technically you can, but it might not be a good idea. This is due to the fact that if you leave Sweden after your residence permit has expired, it can be difficult to enter Sweden again before your new permit is granted, even if you can prove that you’ve applied for a new one.

In the worst-case scenario, you could be denied entry to Sweden at the border and forced to wait in another country until your new residence permit is granted. 

If you find yourself in this situation, you can, in some cases, apply for a national visa allowing you to re-enter Sweden. These are only granted under exceptional circumstances, and must be applied for at a Swedish embassy or general consulate in the country you are staying in. If you are not granted a national visa to re-enter Sweden, you can’t appeal the decision, meaning you’ll have to wait until your residence permit is approved before you can re-enter Sweden.

The Migration Agency writes on its website that you should only leave Sweden while your application is being processed “in exceptional cases, and if you really have to”.

It lists some examples of exceptional cases as “sudden illness, death in the family or important work-related assignments”, adding that you may need to provide proof of your reason for travelling to the embassy when you apply for a national visa to re-enter Sweden.

What if I come from a visa-free country?

If you come from a visa-free country, you are able to re-enter Sweden without needing a visa, but you may run into issues anyway, as visa-free non-EU citizens entering Schengen are only allowed to stay in the bloc for 90 days in every 180 before a visa is required.

If you are a member of this group and you stay in Schengen for longer than 90 days without a visa, you could be labelled an “overstayer”, which can cause issues entering other countries, as well as applying for a visa or residence permit in the future.

The Migration Agency told The Local that “a visa-free person waiting for a decision in their extension application can leave Sweden and return, as long as they have visa-free days left to use”.

“However, an extension application usually requires the individual to be located in Sweden,” the Agency wrote. “Travelling abroad can, in some cases, have an effect on the decision whether to extend a residence permit or not, in a way which is negative for the applicant, but this decision is made on an individual case basis (it’s not possible to say a general rule).”

“The right to travel into the Schengen area for short visits is not affected, as long as the person still has visa-free days left.”

The Local has contacted the Migration Agency to clarify whether days spent in Sweden count towards the 90-day limit, and will update this article accordingly once we receive a response.

Does this apply to me if I have a permanent residence permit?

No. This only applies to people in Sweden holding temporary residence permits. If you have a permanent residence permit and your residence permit card (uppehållstillståndskort or UT-kort) expires, you just need to book an appointment at the Migration Agency to have your picture and fingerprints taken for a new card.

How long is the processing time for residence permit renewals?

It varies. For people renewing a residence permit to live with someone in Sweden, for example, the Migration Agency states that 75 percent of recent cases received an answer within eight months.

For work permit extensions, it varies. In some branches, 75 percent of applicants received a response after 17 months, others only had to wait five.

This means that some people waiting to extend their residence permits could be discouraged from leaving Sweden for almost a year and a half, unless they are facing “exceptional circumstances”.

You can see how long it is likely to take in your case here.