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What counts as salary under Sweden's new work permit threshold?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
What counts as salary under Sweden's new work permit threshold?
Any extra benefits or pay must be regular and clearly mentioned in your contract to be considered part of your salary. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

People applying for work permits in Sweden must from November 1st earn at least 27,360 kronor for their application to be accepted. But what exactly counts as salary, according to the Migration Agency?


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 rose 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.

What counts as salary?

As a general rule, the Migration Agency will only look at your pre-tax basic salary or your grundlön, but there are some cases where other allowances or additions are included if they are regular and clearly described in your contract.


If you get pure salary supplements - lönetillägg - then they are included, but other kinds of supplements like overtime pay and pay for working extra hours are not, even if you earn a regular sum by working overtime or extra hours each month.

Pay for working unsocial hours - also known as OB-tillägg - may be included, if it is stated in your contract and occurs regularly as part of your monthly salary. 

If the number of unsocial hours you work varies from month to month, or if it's not mentioned in your contract, then it is probably not included. The Migration Agency will make an individual assessment in each case.


Housing, food or travel to and from work which is regularly paid for by your employer, often referred to as traktamente, is sometimes included. If your traktamente is a small amount designed to cover extra costs or merkostnader you incur personally during a stay of less than three months carried out as part of your job, like food or transport costs, then it is usually tax free and therefore does not count as salary.


If your traktamente consists of your employer regularly paying for something in its entirety, it is mentioned in your employment contract and it and is paid out for a longer period than a short work trip then it is usually taxed as a salary (inkomst av tjänst) and can therefore be used as salary when calculating whether you meet the Migration Agency's threshold.

How can I check if I'm not sure?

If your specific allowance or additional salary is regular and described in your contract but you're still in doubt, you can check how it's taxed.

Is it taxed as a salary, meaning that you pay tax for inkomst av tjänst (income from employment) on that sum, and does your employer pay employer fees, or arbetsgivaravgifter? If yes, then you can include it in your work permit application, although you are responsible for providing documentation of this to the Migration Agency to support your claim that it should be considered part of your salary.


This can include allowances or benefits like free housing, a free car or free food, outside of work trips, which are not paid out as such but still consist of your employer offering you some sort of benefit in return for work. If they fit the criteria for a taxable benefit then the Tax Agency will usually figure out how much your benefit is worth according to the market value and tax you accordingly. You can then use this figure from the Tax Agency to supplement your salary figure in order to reach the threshold.

For housing, for example, the figure you can use is the market value per square metre determined by the Tax Agency, multiplied by the property's size in square metres, divided by the number of people living in the property, if applicable. Make sure that you and your employer provide enough information in your work permit application for the Migration Agency to be able to determine whether the allowance or benefit in question should be considered salary or not.

More specific information on exactly what the Migration Agency can include in salary calculations is available here (in Swedish).

Correction: This article previously stated that OB-tillägg is not counted as salary. In reality, it can be counted as salary if it occurs on a regular basis and is mentioned in your employment contract. We apologise for the confusion.


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Mary 2023/10/30 21:23
Hello, I sent an email to migrationsverket about OB and I was told it can be counted as salary if it is stated in your contract and occur regularly in your monthly salary . So I am confused with your explanation.
  • Becky.Waterton 2023/11/01 10:42
    Hi, thanks for bringing this up. I've looked into this more closely and you're right, it can be included if it is regular and stated in your contract, but it is not included if it only occurs occasionally or if it isn't mentioned in your contract. The Migration Agency will make an individual assessment in each case. Sorry for the confusion and I've now updated the article to reflect this.

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