The Swedish government has decided to increase the income requirement for foreign migrants, stipulating that they must earn a minimum of 80% of the country’s average salary.
This was announced by the official Swedish ministry, where it was also stated that this change in legislation and regulation would take effect on November 1st.
The Swedish Justice Ministry, in a press release, stated that the primary goal of this new measure is to reduce low-skilled labour immigration, combat fraud, and address abuses associated with labour migration. Authorities believe that in many instances, individuals already residing in the country could perform low-skilled labour immigration.
TheTimes learns that this adjustment to the subsistence requirement is a crucial step in the government’s efforts to tighten the conditions for labour immigration. The objective is to mitigate fraud and exploitation connected to labour migration and ensure that more individuals already in Sweden can access available job opportunities.
The rationale for an increased salary requirement
The intent behind raising the income requirement is to establish fair and reasonable conditions for labour immigrants to enter Sweden and work. Presently, the labour migrant system is susceptible to exploitation, resulting in individuals being compelled to work for inadequate wages, excessive hours, and at times, without proper breaks.
Increasing the subsistence requirement will bolster the standing of labour migrants in the job market, safeguard their salaries from being undermined, and discourage competition based on low wages. This measure seeks to create a more equitable and just working environment for labour migrants.
The increased subsistence requirement will particularly impact occupations in service, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, fishing, and roles with shorter training or introductory periods. Generally, employees in these sectors tend to earn salaries below the new subsistence threshold.
Based on data from the Swedish Migration Agency, roughly one in four employees currently earn less than the stipulated salary requirement.
The revised requirement would not apply to specific groups of employees, such as those exercising their freedom of movement (EU/EEA citizens and their family members), individuals with or seeking an EU Blue Card, those with or seeking an ICT permit, and seasonal workers.
Furthermore, professional coaches and athletes, au pairs, trainees engaged in international exchange programs, trainees linked to higher education, and researchers are among the categories exempt from the new requirement.
Requirements for obtaining a work permit
In addition, it’s important to note the requirements for obtaining a work permit in Sweden:
Obtaining a Swedish work permit involves the individual possessing a valid passport and a confirmed job offer or contract.
The salary offered should be by Swedish collective agreements, and the position should provide a monthly income of at least €1,220 (SEK 13,000).
Mandatory employer-provided insurance must cover health, life, employment, and pension.
It’s crucial to meet all these requirements to obtain a work permit, and holding multiple jobs concurrently would not help in fulfilling the criteria.