The government of Sweden recently introduced a policy change that is aimed at reforming the immigration rules set out in the country. In the past, the policy mainly targeted asylum seekers and did not focus on other skilled immigrants that may be of importance to the development of the country. With the new policy in place, labor immigration will be greatly improved with more opportunities for immigrants with skilled labor to get residence in Sweden. Increased challenges in the labor market forced the government to rethink its strategy regarding such immigrants, hence making it possible to improve the future of the country's economy in the long run with this change.
During a recent visit to India, Migration Minister of Sweden, Tobias Billstrom, discussed this new development with several ministers from the Indian government. In its findings, Swedish industries are facing challenges with more of the older generation being part of the workforce making it inefficient. The minister suggested that such demographic challenges cannot be solved by migration, but would be greatly make a change that would enable Sweden to tap into the global market and gain a competitive advantage.
The increase in the number of asylum seekers changed the general perception of immigration in Sweden in the early 1970’s hence less people were allowed to immigrate into the country for labor purposes. The new rules enable employers in Sweden to look for workers from third countries if they are unavailable in Sweden or any other EU countries. Additionally, permit periods will be significantly extended to allow visiting students to have the opportunity to apply for such permits while still in Sweden. Therefore, employers will have more authority based on their needs to determine whether they can allow permits for citizens from other countries.
Temporary permits will now be awarded for the duration of the employment or at a maximum time of two years, after which the permit may be renewed as much as may be required for a maximum of four years. After such a time period, the individual will be eligible to apply for permanent residence once he/she satisfies the requirements of the permit. Such opportunities will open up major opportunities for Indians who may wish to work in Sweden
, especially in engineering and manufacturing. With India having more than 300,000 graduates each year in these fields, Sweden is keen on tapping into this market so that the country is able to maintain its global competitiveness.