File photo: Bertil Ericson / TT

Hoping to work, immigrants must first wait months or years for qualifications to be recognized

Health care workers who come to Sweden from outside the EU are facing longer waiting times as they seek license to practice in Sweden.

Pernilla Ek, who works for the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare, told news agency TT that the processing time for these applications has increased significantly.

The board receives nearly 10 applications per day, mostly from doctors, nurses, dentists, and pharmacists. Last year, a total of almost 2,000 applications came in, which was 500 more than the year before.

The whole process takes about nine months, according to the board's website, but according to Swedish Radio News, the process can drag on for up to seven years by the time all the language tests and medical knowledge tests are completed.

The Swedish Council for Higher Education is also taking longer to manage the increasing amount of applications they're receiving to recognize foreign qualifications. Last year, it took around 130 days to process these applications, versus 74 days in 2012, however last year, 12 more people were brought on to help with all the cases.

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