Swedish Migration Agency to launch new international recruitment units

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Swedish Migration Agency to launch new international recruitment units
Migration Minsiter Maria Malmer Stenergard and Mikael Ribbenvik, outgoing Director General at the press conference on Friday. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

Sweden's Migration Agency is to scrap the fast-track certified system and instead launch new international recruitment units which will aim to handle complete work permits for highly skilled employees within 30 days.


As first reported in The Local last week, outgoing Director General Mikael Ribbenvik plans to initiate a complete overhaul of how the work permit system works inside the agency as his final act before leaving at the end of this month. 

"It should be easy to apply for a work permit," Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said at a press conference held with Ribbenvik to announce the new system. " We want Sweden to be competitive. It must therefore be simple to apply for a work permit and getting a decision should be quick." 

The new International Recruitment Units, or Enheter för internationell rekrytering, would, Ribbenvik said, provide a better service, be more focused on corporate needs, and have special service teams to support companies in bringing new international staff to Sweden. 

The new system will come into force at the end of this year, with a detailed report submitted to the government on September 4th. 

Ribbenvik said that the Migration Agency planned to set up a working group with businesses to ensure that the new system as best as possible met their needs. 

The new units will handle work permit applications according to four categories, ranked from A to D, with complete applications within Category A, which includes highly qualified international employees and senior executives, taking only 30 days to process. 

Category B will include any application which needs to be handled under special rules, such as seasonal agricultural workers, or applications from holders of EU Blue Cards. 

Category D will include applications from industries where there has been widespread abuse of work permits in the past, such as construction, hotels and restaurants, cleaning, and personal assistants. These will be subject to the most thorough investigations. 

Category C will include all other applications which do not require a higher education and are not covered by special rules. 


At the press conference, Ribbenvik said the agency would also end the certified fast track scheme, which he said "was on the way towards implosion", with fully 40 percent of the 104,000 work permit cases the agency received in 2022 coming through the certified route. 

"A fast track like this, which is on the way to changing into becoming the only track, just isn't going to work in the long-term," he said. 

In a press release, the Migration Agency said that the new system would also provide more support for companies in the run-up to making applications, so that a higher share of applications received were complete. 

"Helping employers make a complete application reduces handling time," Ribbenvik said in a statement. "It should be simpler for employers to contact us and get support in the process." 


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