Swedish government orders crackdown on work and residence permit abuses

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Swedish government orders crackdown on work and residence permit abuses
Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard (left) holds a press conference together with Sweden Democrat Group Leader Henrik Vinge on increasing checks on work and residence permit abuses, and also improving the system for recalling them. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden's government has ordered the Migration Agency to withdraw more work and residence permits obtained on false premises, calling on it to appoint new specialists, and develop automatic processes to identify abuses.


The directive to the Migration Agency was announced at a press conference hosted jointly by Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and Sweden Democrat group leader Henrik Vinge. 

This made it the first announcement with the format agreed under the Tidö Agreement, which gives the far-right Sweden Democrats the right to front policies developed together with Sweden's three-party coalition government. 


"Today our work begins, with the first important step in the direction of a responsible migration policy," Vinge said, complaining that there was "relatively widespread" abuse, particularly when it came down to foreigners who receive permits to come to Sweden to study at university. 

"An example of the sort of abuses [we are targeting] could be that the permit is used for other reasons than for education," he said.

Sweden's Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said that the directive to the Migration Agency could be carried out within the existing legal framework. 

"It's important for the legitimacy of the system that we make it more difficult to abuse, and that residence and work permits are recalled if there are grounds to do so," she said in a press release. "For this reason, the government has issued an order to the Migration Agency to take action here and now within the current regulatory framework."

In the press release, it says that the Migration Agency should "develop its handling processes", "create a clear division of responsibility for recalling work and residence permits", and carry out an analysis into whether an "automated system and other types of case-handling support" could be used to a greater extent.  

The agency has been tasked with looking into the possibilities of creating a system which will allow it to systematically check up on people who have been awarded residency to make sure that their residency permits are not being misused. 

In addition, the press release calls on the agency to "step up its work on recalling residency for studies in higher education, where there are indications that residency permits are being misused". 


Stenergard stressed that fulfilling these tasks "should not be allowed to impact on the work being done to stop so-called talent deportations". 

The agency has been asked to submit a written account on how it is enacting the government's requests on June 30th, 2023. 


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