Migration policy

Jobs a viable short cut to staying in Sweden

If the Swedish Migration Board gets its way a person seeking asylum in Sweden who finds a job should be allowed to apply for a residency permit as a labour immigrant at the same time, newspaper Dagens Nyheter writes.

The Migration Board’s controversial proposal was written in answer to a special government investigation on migration policy, and could turn Swedish immigration policy upside down.  

Labour laws adopted in 2008 by the centre-right coalition government together with the Green Party made it possible for those denied asylum to try a second avenue and apply for residency as a labour migrant. Since then more than 1,100 applicants denied asylum got a limited residency permit as a labour immigrant, DN writes.  

Now the Migration Board wants to go a step further and allow people to simultaneously apply for asylum and residency as a labour immigrant.

“It’s inhuman to make an asylum-seeker wait to the bitter end of the asylum process before he or she can apply for residency as a labour migrant,” Jonas Lindgren, head of operations at the Migration Board, told Dagens Nyheter.

According to the Migration Board, parallel applications would shave off a full year of waiting time for would-be immigrants.

In its answer to the special government investigation on so-called “circular migration” the Migration Board writes it’s time to “re-evaluate old solutions and laws and open Sweden up to a more modern reception of migrants”, DN writes.

The Social Democrats and LO, the umbrella organisation for blue-collar workers’ unions, oppose the idea.

“It’s dangerous to blur the line between asylum-seeking and labour migration,” Thord Ingesson, who wrote LO’s answer to the investigation, told DN. “If refugees are suddenly seen as labour migrants, it can make defending the right to protection difficult.”

The Social Democratic Party and unions were opposed to the free labour migration during the 1960s, when people could move to Sweden and work without a permit.