Sweden Sets New Income Requirement for Migrants
The Swedish government has approved a new regulation, effective from November 1st, raising the income threshold for foreign migrants, now requiring them to earn at least 80% of the national average salary.
The Swedish government has made a significant policy shift to address issues surrounding labor migration. In a recent press release, the Swedish Justice Ministry highlighted its primary objectives: reducing low-skilled labor immigration, combating fraudulent practices, and ensuring fair conditions for labor immigrants.
To achieve these goals, the income requirement for foreign migrants has been raised to 80% of the country's average salary. This measure is expected to bolster the standing of labor migrants in the job market and create a more equitable working environment.
Presently, the labor migrant system is vulnerable to exploitation, with many individuals forced to work for inadequate wages, extended hours, and sometimes without proper breaks. By setting higher income standards, this measure seeks to safeguard the salaries of labor migrants and discourage competition based on low wages, ultimately fostering a more just working environment for them.
The change in policy is expected to particularly impact certain occupations, such as those in service, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, and fishing. Many employees in these sectors earn salaries below the new subsistence threshold.
Data from the Swedish Migration Agency reveals that approximately one in four employees fall short of the stipulated salary requirement. However, it's important to note that the revised requirement does not apply to specific groups of employees, ensuring a balanced approach to labor immigration standards.
Key Points to Consider for Obtaining a Work Permit in Sweden:
- A valid passport and a confirmed job offer or contract are essential prerequisites for securing a Swedish work permit.
- The offered salary must adhere to Swedish collective agreements, guaranteeing a minimum monthly income of at least €1,220 (SEK 13,000).
- Comprehensive employer-provided insurance is mandatory, covering health, life, employment, and pension benefits.
Meeting all the above-mentioned requirements is crucial for obtaining a work permit, and it's important to note that having multiple jobs simultaneously won't assist in meeting the criteria.
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Q1: What is the primary objective behind Sweden's new income requirement for migrants?
A1: The main goal is to curb low-skilled labor immigration, address associated fraud and abuses, and enhance opportunities for those already residing in Sweden.
Q2: How will the raised income requirement impact labor migrants?
A2: It aims to improve the standing of labor migrants in the job market, safeguard their salaries from being undermined, and discourage competition based on low wages.
Q3: Which job sectors will be particularly affected by the increased subsistence requirement?
A3: Occupations in service, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, and fishing, as well as roles with shorter training or introductory periods, will be most impacted.
Q4: Are there any categories of employees exempt from this new requirement?
A4: Yes, exemptions include EU/EEA citizens, their family members, EU Blue Card holders, ICT permit seekers, seasonal workers, professional coaches, au pairs, trainees in international exchange programs, higher education-linked trainees, and researchers.
Q5: How does the new income requirement align with Sweden's immigration policies?
A5: The increased income requirement is part of Sweden's broader efforts to tighten conditions for labor immigration, reduce exploitation, and ensure fair treatment for labor migrants.