Migration Minister: Exemptions to new work permit salary rules not possible

9:31 min
  • From November 1, the increase to the minimum salary needed for a work permit will come into effect for almost all workers from countries outside the EU.

  • Work permit holders already in Sweden will need to earn at least 80 per cent of the median wage, currently SEK 27,360 per month, to qualify for an extension and continue living here.

  • Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard says she's aware the change will have a ”huge impact” on people already in Sweden who may be unable to renew their work permits.

The Migration Minister on why they cannot make any exemptions to the new rules:

”The simple answer is because the legislation that this proposal is based on does not admit such exemptions... There is no way for the Government right now, on the basis of this bill that was passed in the parliament, to make any other exemptions... Many will be able to stay if they comply with the new requirements and that will be tried when they apply for prolongation of the work permit. If they do not have a salary that reaches the required level, then they will have to leave.”

What the Minister's message is to people like Krisnendu Mahalder, who face having to leave Sweden as they don't earn enough:

”Of course I would like to start by saying I really feel for him and of course this will have a huge impact on several peoples lives, and I'm very aware of that, but we have to make this paradigm shift in migration policy now. And we have the mandate from the Swedish people, and that means that there should be order also when it comes to workforce migration. 
It means we are now focusing on high-skilled migration coming here, but we believe that those jobs that are available in low-skilled sectors should be performed by those living already in Sweden but not supporting themselves, or by other people in the EU.”

The minister on whether employers will be able to find staff to fill the gaps from within Sweden, as the Government hopes:

”Well don't forget that the whole labour market of the EU is still available for these employers, but I am also convinced that many more of those that are already living in Sweden should be able to take those jobs. That requires two changes I think, first of all the changes that we now make with a higher salary requirement, but second of all, it has to be more profitable to earn your own wage than living from public subsidies, and that is also something that this Government is now changing.”

Click the play button above to hear our full interview with Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard.