Work Permits to Former Asylum Seekers

Since Sweden introduced new rules to allow immigration for work reasons, 102 people whose application for asylum was declined, have now been given a work permit instead.

The rules were introduced in December last year, in order to make it easier for employers to recruit new staff abroad. At the same time, it became possible for former asylum seekers to apply for a work permit from within Sweden - if they do so within two weeks of having their asylum application rejected.

In total, over 500 asylum seekers have applied for this work permit. Out of them, just over 200 have been declined a permit because the applications were not filed within the stipulated two weeks. Another 110 applications have been declined because they did not fulfil the criteria regarding existing salary and employment.

The work permit can be extended for up to four years, and after that it is possible to turn it into a permanent residence permit.

One of the successful 102 applicants is Garnik Sargsyan from the northern town of Sundsvall. After nine years as an asylum seeker in Sweden, he has now got a work permit. "I cried when I was given the news", he says in an interview with the daily Dagens Nyheter.

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