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Inside Sweden: Impact of new work permit law is bigger than anyone has foreseen

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Inside Sweden: Impact of new work permit law is bigger than anyone has foreseen
Ana Surguladze, spokesperson for the Work Permit Holders Association, at a demonstration in Sundbyberg on October 11th 2023. Photo: Paul O'Mahony/The Local

The Local's editor Emma Löfgren writes about the biggest stories of the week in our Inside Sweden newsletter.

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Hej,

This week we've been working a lot on the story of how Sweden's soon-to-be-raised salary requirement for work permit holders is going to affect thousands of foreigners already living and working in the country.

The impact of this may be bigger than anyone has foreseen. For every work permit holder losing their right to stay in Sweden, there's a company losing a worker. The country is losing a taxpayer. There are potentially family members who are no longer able to stay. There are foreigners who may not be directly affected, but worry that the goalposts may change for them too one day.

I wrote a LinkedIn post about it, but what I really want to do is get as many people as possible to read this article for which more than 200 people who will be directly affected by the new salary requirement shared their story. 

My colleague Paul O'Mahony also spoke to the Work Permit Holders Association, who formed a human chain outside a Migration Agency office to protest against the retroactivity of the new law, which also affects people who submitted their application ages ago but haven't received an answer.

You can listen to his interviews on the latest episode of The Local's Sweden in Focus podcast. Former education minister Anna Ekström happened to be a guest on this episode, so we also took the opportunity to ask for her thoughts.

The Work Permit Holders Association will hold a new demonstration at Mynttorget in central Stockholm on Sunday, October 15th, from 12-3pm.

Thank you to everyone for trusting The Local with your stories. It's a privilege to be in touch with you all and to try to raise awareness in the Swedish public debate about the impact of law changes like these on foreign citizens.

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In other news

Sweden has been running evacuation flights from the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and as I'm writing this on Friday afternoon just hours before the next flight is set to take off, there's not much I'm able to tell you at the moment about any future evacuation plans after that. 

The foreign ministry did confirm to The Local that evacuation would be available for both Swedish citizens and non-Swedes living in Sweden with valid permits or right of residence. Both groups will need to show valid travel documents. You can call the foreign ministry's crisis number +46 (0) 8 405 19 00 if you need to evacuate, but you have to make your own way to the airport.

The Local's Richard Orange this week spoke to the immigration spokesperson for the far-right Sweden Democrats after the government launched an inquiry into tightening asylum rules to the strictest level allowable under EU law.

Asked whether some of the changes his party wants to make would actually be legal under Swedish, let alone EU, law, he said: "Of course it's possible. Why would we waste time on it if it wasn't possible? We have a lot of stuff to do. It would make zero sense to work on something if it wasn't legally possible."

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How Swedish are you? There's talk about tightening rules for would-be citizens, but are politicians looking at the truly important things? The Local's Becky Waterton had some fun with an alternative take on a Swedish citizenship test. Here's the quiz, which should now be working after some tech glitches! 

A man was this week found guilty of hate crimes after he, among other things, burned a copy of the Quran. But this doesn't mean Quran burning is always illegal, and the court found that it's the context that matters. Here's why.

Despite inflation dropping, experts still believe the Riksbank central bank is likely to hike Sweden's key interest rate at its next meeting in November. Which is fun news for those of us who have been trying to sell our house for months without any success. Not speaking on behalf of any editors in particular.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend,

Emma Löfgren

Editor, The Local Sweden

Inside Sweden is our weekly newsletter for members that gives you news, analysis and, sometimes, takes you behind the scenes at The Local. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to your newsletter preferences.

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Jack 2023/10/15 16:37
Can you not just call them the "Sweden Democrats" and not the "far right Sweden democrats". The labelling exposes you as biased. They are the "Sweden Democrats". Period. The far right is a label added by the media. Cut it out. You will have a better newspaper for it.

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