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Sweden: Labor Immigration

(May 2, 2008) It was reported in the Swedish press that on April 29, 2008, the Swedish government would present a bill on work-related immigration that would make it easier, beginning in mid-December, for people from countries outside the European Union to come to Sweden to work. Under the bill's provisions, persons who had found employment in Sweden would be allowed to stay in the country for an initial period of two years and then, if still employed, for an additional two years. After that time, they would be able to obtain a permanent residence permit and family members could join them. If the bill becomes law, rejected asylum-seekers may become labor immigrants instead, provided they have a job and the promise of future employment. It would be the responsibility of the Swedish Migration Board to ensure that there is no wage dumping.

According to Mikaela Valtersson, the group leader of the Environment Party, which supports the bill, its critics "are mainly worried because this eliminates today's bureaucratic review process. The major change will be that it us up to the employer to decide whether he needs manpower." The Environment Party had also wanted to have current illegal immigrants covered by the bill. The Social Democratic and Left parties as well as the LO (Swedish Trade Union confederation) oppose the legislation. (Swedish Government to Propose Relaxed Regulations for Labor Immigration, DAGENS NYHETER, Apr. 28, 2008, Open Source Center No. EUP20080429340009.)