'Irresponsible experiment': Swedish business leader slams higher work permit threshold

The Local Sweden
The Local Sweden - [email protected]
'Irresponsible experiment': Swedish business leader slams higher work permit threshold
Karin Johansson, deputy head of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. Photo: Sören Andersson/Svenskt näringsliv

Sweden’s leading organisation for businesses has hit out at a raised salary threshold for work permit applicants, which risks seeing thousands of current permit holders expelled from Sweden.


The new salary threshold for work permit holders comes into force on November 1st.

It means that applicants need to earn at least 80 percent of Sweden’s median salary to be eligible for a new or renewed work permit. The new minimum currently stands at 27,360 kronor, although it will change on a yearly basis as the median salary increases.

The deputy CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Karin Johansson, slams the plan in a new opinion piece for the Dagens Nyheter daily, saying it will affect companies’ ability to recruit.

“Sweden’s labour market model has served the country well: salaries and conditions are negotiated by the groups on the labour market and not by the state,” she writes, arguing that the new threshold (which is more than doubled from the previous 13,000 kronor) threatens this model.

There’s little logic to the raised threshold, Johansson writes, dismissing the government’s argument that jobs should go to unemployed people in Sweden. She argues that companies would hardly go through the complicated work permit process if they were able to recruit from within Sweden.


She also argues that the new requirement, contrary to what the government claims, will lead to higher unemployment as many businesses will be left without key staff and won’t be able to expand.

“It’s hard to shake the suspicion that the salary floor stems from a political strategy – a PR plan – rather than a programme for jobs and growth,” she writes.


Out of work permit holders currently in Sweden, almost 15,000 people earn less than the new threshold, and many collective bargaining agreements have minimum wages below the cap.

In the next step, the government is planning to raise the threshold even further, to the median salary (an ongoing inquiry is expected to outline the details in January next year), which Johansson argues would effectively amount to a loss of 16 billion kronor in GDP and 5 billion in tax revenue.

“The government should not get involved in the Swedish salary structure at all. To carry out step two in this high-risk experiment would be nothing short of irresponsible,” she writes.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Maria 2023/11/15 15:19
Sadly if the salary is hiked even more, I won't be counted as a 'highly qualified individual'. I am a research assistant with a masters degree in a field of biophysics and computational biology and I earn 27500 kr.
bear 2023/11/02 13:58
This new rules should have been applied to New application only. Changing the rules after people already are here is just wrong !

See Also