Sweden's government to hike work permit salary threshold

TT/The Local
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Sweden's government to hike work permit salary threshold
Flatbreads roll off the production line at the Polarbröd factory in Älvsbyn. Factories in Sweden will only be able to recruit from abroad if they offer 30,000 kronor a month, if the Social Democrats have their way. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden's Social Democrat government has called for work permits in future to be awarded only to those paid at least 90 percent of Sweden's average salary, setting an effective salary threshold of 30,000 kronor (€2,800) a month.


The new threshold, the latest in a series of proposals to tighten labour migration, will see the threshold nearly tripled from today's 13,000 kronor a month limit, and matches or betters competing proposals for salary thresholds from the opposition Moderate and Christian Democrat parties. 

"We are now making yet another tightening of the regulation over labour migration and are making it easier for genuine, established companies," Sweden's migration minister Anders Ygeman, said in a press release announcing the change


Ygeman said he aimed to win broad support for the proposal, which has been sent to Sweden's parliament, from parties on both the left and right of politics, several of whom have proposed similar thresholds. 

The Moderates have proposed a salary threshold of 27,540 kronor, while the Christian Democrats have proposed a threshold of 35,000 kronor. Both parties want to exempt seasonal workers who come to pick berries, or fruit and vegetables from the requirement. 

READ ALSO: How do Sweden's parties want to reform work permits?

Sweden's government tightened work permit rules as recently as June, when it became necessary to have a signed contract from an employer before being granted a permit, and also for the applicant to demonstrate that they can support themselves and any dependents. 

The government has also proposed bringing back the old system of labour market testing, under which unions, employers and the government work together to draw up a list of professions and skills where there is a shortage in Sweden, and limits work permits to those who have those skills. 


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