Work permits For Members

What happens to your Swedish work permit if you lose your job?

The Local Sweden
The Local Sweden - [email protected]
What happens to your Swedish work permit if you lose your job?
In most cases, you have a three-month grace period in which to find a new job before you have to leave Sweden. Photo: Tim Aro/TT

Losing your job is never ideal, but for those in Sweden on a work permit there's another layer of worry. Can you stay in Sweden to look for work? Can you change career? Here's what happens.


First off, the information below only applies to non-EU citizens in Sweden who have a residence permit linked to their work permit: not EU citizens or their family members, and not people with post-Brexit residence status or other types of residence permit (uppehållstillstånd).

The good news, is you won't be kicked out of Sweden the minute you lose your job: you have a three-month grace period after losing your job to find a new one and apply for a new work permit.

You may not even have to apply for a new work permit if you continue to work in the same occupation with a different employer. If you've worked in Sweden for 24 months or longer, you are free to change employer without applying for a new permit, as long as you're working in the same profession and your old permit is still valid. You will, however, still need to apply for a new permit once your old one expires.

If you have been working in Sweden for fewer than 24 months, your permit is tied to a specific employer and a specific occupation, so you'll need to apply for a new permit if you move to a different company.


As long as you have a residence permit, you have that three-month period to find work. You’ll need to show potential employers you have the right to live and work in Sweden.

If you’re successful in finding a new job within three months, you need to apply for a new work permit if you’ve either had the old one for less than 24 months or have changed occupations, regardless of how long you’ve had your permit. You can work while your new permit is being processed as long as you applied before the old one ran out and before the end of the three-month period.

Make sure that your new job fulfils the relevant requirements, such as having been advertised in Sweden, the EU/EEA and Switzerland before you started working there, an acceptable salary for your industry and the relevant insurance. You can see the most up-to-date requirements here.

Things get more complicated if your work permit is due to expire within this three-month grace period. In that case, you need to apply for an extension of your residence and work permit, and to do that you need to be able to provide a signed employment contract from your new employer in your application. Get in touch with the Swedish Migration Agency if this applies to you.


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