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Proposal: Low-skilled jobs should go to jobseekers in Sweden

Published tisdag 14 februari kl 10.16
Damberg: The law has to adjust to the needs on the Swedish labour market
(1:27 min)
People picking berries in northern Sweden.
People picking berries in northern Sweden. Credit: PONTUS LUNDAHL / TT

Jobs that require little or no education should primarily go to unemployed people in Sweden, according to a new Social Democrat proposal, which aims to cut the number of work permits issued to people from abroad.

Last year, 12,000 work permits were issued to people from outside the EU in accordance with the law on labour market immigration. Approximately 5,000 of them were for jobs that require little education, such as picking berries and planting trees. In the past, these seasonal jobs have often been taken up by people from south-east Asia, who come to Sweden on a special work permit for non-EU citizens.

But since 2015, when Sweden received over 160,000 asylum seekers, the number of unskilled labourers has gone up in Sweden, and now the Social Democrats and the Trade Union confederation LO want to adjust the law on labour market immigration, so that it can take the situation on the Swedish labour market into account.

"Jobs that require short or little education should primarily be given to unemployed people in Sweden," write trade minister Mikael Damberg and the head of the Trade Union confederation LO, Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson in a debate piece in the daily Dagens Nyheter.

They note that the current law does not differentiate between IT experts and Damberg: cleaners. But while they want to make it easier to recruit qualified staff from other countries, Damberg and Thorwaldsson propose a change in the law, so that fewer work permits are issued for low-skilled jobs.

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