Thousands of foreign students wait for news on Swedish residence permits

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Thousands of foreign students wait for news on Swedish residence permits
Many international students have told The Local of the stress they are experiencing due to the corona pandemic. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

International students face an anxious wait to find out whether or not they can stay in Sweden this autumn, as some coronavirus measures may affect their right to a residence permit.


Around 4,000 international students are currently waiting to find out whether or not they can keep their Swedish residence permit, reports Swedish public radio, SR. As The Local has previously reported, this all depends on whether or not – and how much of – their courses will be taught remotely.

Swedish law only permits the Migration Agency to give student residence permits if more than 50 percent of their course will be conducted on campus. The Swedish government in May told universities they could reopen to students, but many universities have warned that they may still need to continue teaching remotely, or at least a mix of on-campus and distance teaching.

It is still not entirely clear at some Swedish universities what the coming academic year will look like, and thousands of non-EU students may be rejected for a new residence permit or for a permit extension if they are unable to show that the majority of their courses will be taught on campus.

"The government would need to step in and give new directions to the Migration Agency so that no students fall between the cracks," Patrik Höstmad, acting deputy principal of undergraduate courses at Chalmers University, told SR on Monday.


The Migration Agency states that it expects studies to be conducted on campus in spring, so if you intend to study a full academic year in Sweden, "you only need to have a small part of the teaching on campus during the autumn semester in order to be able to receive a permit for the entire time".

It also advises students whose situation is currently unclear to wait as long as possible before they extend their residence permit, as long as they apply before the current permit expires. Its legal experts have previously said that they will "try to make as generous an assessment as possible".

Many foreign students have told The Local of the stress they have experienced due to the coronavirus situation. We have shared some of their stories in these articles:

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