Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Opposition calls for change to electricity compensation, electric cars, and Swedish parliament votes through hiked work permit salary threshold. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A car being charged at a charging point. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/T

Social Democrats call for government to change electricity compensation 

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson has called for the government to change its planned system of compensation for high power prices, after it emerged that wealthy people would receive the full support, but those receiving welfare payments would not. 

“It’s just too stupid, so they just have to put it in order,” Andersson said after the detail came out. “Those who have big villas, jacuzzis or heated garages will receive hundreds of thousands of kronor, while those who are living on the tightest margins — where the fact that Bregott [butter] costs 70 kronor makes a real difference to their daily lives – won’t receive any of this.” 

Swedish vocab: vardagar – every day [lives]

Swedish parliament votes through work permit and ID-number laws

Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday voted through two bills, one which will allow the government to hike the minimum salary for a work permit, and another which may lead to people with coordination numbers being able to get BankID.

The first bill, “A higher subsistence requirement for labour migrants” (Ett höjt försörjningskrav för arbetskraftsinvandrare), was passed with a majority of 244 in favour and 54 against, with only the Centre, Green and Left parties voting against the move to tighten labour migration.

In the debate over the bill, Jonny Cato from the Centre Party dismissed the government’s claim that the bill would be “a big win for Swedish businesses”, saying that businesses were in fact “extremely worried about where they are going to get their competence.”

“If we look at who these labour migrants with a salary under 33,200 are, who will no longer have permission to stay but will be deported – it is one out of seven systems developers, one of out seven engineers, and one out of seven IT architects. This is highly skilled labour,” he said. “How will companies be able to get the expertise they need now and not in five years time?”

The bill empowers the government to raise the maintenance requirement for work permit applicants from outside the EU, the Nordic countries and Switzerland above the current 13,000 kronor a month.

It does not propose how much higher the maintenance requirement should be, or propose a date for when the changes should come into force, stating instead that it can be implemented on “the day the government decides”.

Sweden’s Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard has said she intends to do this as soon as possible.

Swedish vocab: försörjningskrav – support requirement 

Four out of ten new cars sold are electric in Sweden 

Sales of cars in Sweden were up 22 percent year on year in November. 64.8 percent were battery powered, of which 22.3 percent were plug-in hybrid and 42.5 percent fully electric.

The rush to buy electric cars on November 8th, when the government announced it was scrapping the bonus for electric vehicles the next day, will not show up in the statistics until next month. 

Sofia Linder, chief economist for Mobility Sweden, said the rise in sales was a result of supply rising to meet the strong demand for new cars. 

“At the same time the industry’s supply chain is still out of balance, with a bigger demand than supply, which is something that is expected to continue even next year,” she said in a press release. 

Swedish vocab: laddbara bilar – plug-in cars

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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Tough negotiations over the salary threshold for work permit holders, possible law changes after prosecutors solve Gothenburg murder, and why fewer heart surgeons led to a lower mortality rate at a Swedish hospital. Here's the latest news.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Sweden could change its laws after prosecutors solve Gothenburg murder

Prosecutors this week identified the suspected killer of a woman in Gothenburg in 2005. Marie Johansson was killed in her store where she sold fabrics, but her murder was never solved – until, potentially, now, when prosecutors found a DNA match.

However, the woman who is suspected of the murder cannot be brought to trial. Because it turned out she was 17 at the time, the alleged crime has reached its statute of limitations. Sweden generally doesn’t have a statute of limitations for murder, with the exception of young offenders.

But Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer told public broadcaster SVT that he may now look into trying to get the law changed, raising the statute of limitations from 15 to 25 years.

Swedish vocabulary: statute of limitations – preskriptionstid

Tough negotiations over salary threshold for work permit holders

The Swedish government wants to raise the salary threshold for work permits, but business news site Dagens Industri reports that the Liberals and the Sweden Democrats disagree on whether or not to include certain exceptions to the required threshold.

The exact figure hasn’t been set yet, but the government and its Sweden Democrat partners have previously proposed setting it at 33,000 kronor a month, which means that a lot of workers whose skills Sweden needs would not qualify for a work permit.

The Liberals therefore want to make exceptions for certain professions, such as assistant nurses. But the far-right Sweden Democrats are understood to be against such exceptions and “want to throttle immigration at any cost”, a source told Dagens Industri.

Swedish vocabulary: a work permit – ett arbetstillstånd

Why fewer heart surgeons led to a lower mortality rate at Swedish hospital

The mortality rate after heart surgery fell to 0.4 percent at the Karolinska University Hospital in 2022, the lowest in Sweden.

According to the hospital, this is because each surgeon now has the opportunity to work on more heart surgeries every year.

“There were too many of us and we’re now half as many as 15 years ago. It’s like being an elite athlete, you have to maintain your skills. If you don’t do it often, every moment could be a stressful situation. Things don’t always go as planned and it’s then important to know how to solve it,” said Peter Svenarud, consultant and head of Karolinska’s thoracic surgery. “I think I carried out 230 surgeries last year. That’s a reasonable amount.”

Swedish vocabulary: a heart surgeon – en hjärtkirurg

Eight ways Sweden’s Migration Agency could cut the wait for work permits

The immigration team at the accounting firm EY in Stockholm help clients with over a thousand work permit applications and renewals every year. The Local asked them for their suggestions on how the Migration Agency could cut processing times.

Here are the measures they believe would make a real difference.

Swedish vocabulary: a suggestion – ett förslag