Work permits For Members

How Sweden's new work permit salary threshold will work in practice

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
How Sweden's new work permit salary threshold will work in practice
The new salary threshold will also affect those with pending applications. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Sweden's minimum salary to be eligible for a work permit was more than doubled at the start of November, including for pending applications. Here's what we know about who it will affect.


What changed on November 1st?

On November 1st, the minimum salary that applicants need to earn in order to be eligible for a Swedish work permit was raised from 13,000 kronor a month to 27,360 kronor, after the government just before the end of September formally pushed through the change.

The new salary requirement is set to 80 percent of Sweden’s median salary as announced by Statistics Sweden’s yearly updates, so it will change every year. It also needs to be in line with industry standards or collective bargaining agreements, so 27,360 kronor is just the minimum.

It's the most recently published median salary at the time of your application (not the time of a decision) that will determine how much you need to earn in order to be eligible for a work permit.

According to Statistics Sweden, they most recently updated the median salary on June 20th, 2023. So if you applied before then, your application should be assessed according to the previous median salary, or in other words you need to earn at least 26,560 kronor a month.

Who will be affected?

Non-EU citizens who need a work permit to be allowed to move to Sweden for work, but scroll down for a list of exemptions for certain categories of workers below.

The new threshold applies both to first-time applicants and people renewing their permits, but people with existing permits will not be affected until the point when they choose to renew it.

The Migration Agency estimates around 10-20 percent of those who apply for work permits will not reach the new salary requirement and will therefore be directly affected.


Who will be exempt?

People moving to Sweden under the EU’s freedom of movement rules are not covered by the salary requirement as they don’t need a work permit to live and work in the country. The changes also don’t apply to non-EU citizens in Sweden on other residency permits than work permits.

Seasonal agricultural workers are exempt from the new salary threshold, as are people holding an EU Blue Card and people with an ICT permit (internal transfers within multinational companies).

Other categories that are covered by exemptions are professional athletes, au pairs, interns taking part in an international exchange, and researchers.

Will it affect pending applications?


A spokesperson for the migration minister confirmed to The Local that people who submitted their applications before November 1st but didn't receive a reply by that date will have their applications processed according to the new minimum salary.

The only exception is people whose work permit application has already been rejected and are in the process of appealing that rejection. 


Who made this decision?

Both the previous Social Democrat government, and the four parties backing the current right-wing government have in recent years been pushing to tighten the liberal labour migration regime brought in by the four-party Moderate-led Alliance government in 2008.

The decision to raise the minimum salary follows a decision by the previous government, although the specific amount was set by the current right-wing coalition earlier this year.

In the Tidö Agreement between the three sitting government parties and the far-right Sweden Democrats, the parties had agreed that the new rate should be close to the median wage.

What happens next?

Further reforms are also being looked into, which could see approval of work permits generally limited to jobs that are paid at the level of the median salary. These reforms may also exempt more professions that would otherwise be blocked, in order to prevent a shortage of crucial skills.

These reforms are part of an inquiry which will present its conclusions by January 31st, 2024.

Will there be a grace period?

Not for the November 1st changes, but possibly for the next step. The Local initially reported back in February, after attending a press conference with the migration minister, that the government was planning a grace period before the new salary threshold applies to renewed permits.

However, the minister was talking about the next step of work permit reforms, her spokesperson has since clarified. For this step, a 12-month grace period for those renewing permits is being discussed.


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