In 2020, Sweden received 79 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), -18.8% compared to 2019. This figure comprises 28% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 15.8% labour migrants, 43% family members (including accompanying family) and 13.2% humanitarian migrants. Around 6 600 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 5 100 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 61 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2020, a decrease of -28% compared to 2019. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

India, Syria and Afghanistan were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2020. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Denmark registered the strongest increase (25) and Afghanistan the largest decrease (-5 300) in flows to Sweden compared to the previous year.

In 2021, the number of first asylum applicants decreased by -25.3% to reach around 10 000. The majority of applicants came from Syria (2 200), Afghanistan (1 000) and Ukraine (400). The largest increase since 2020 concerned nationals of Syria (400) and the largest decrease nationals of Uzbekistan (-560). Of the 10 000 decisions taken in 2021, 28% were positive.

In June 2021, the parliament adopted amendments to regulations in the Aliens Act, which came into force in July 2021. According to the new legislation, all residence permits issued are temporary. First time-limited permits can vary in length, but a two-year permit is the main rule. Permanent residence permits can only be granted if certain requirements are met, including a maintenance requirement. The amendment also includes stricter requirements for family migration: the relative in Sweden must be able to support both themselves and the family members and have a home sufficient in size and standard to host everyone.

In June 2022, the parliament adopted new regulations on tightening and improving the current regulations on labour migration. The regulations intend to counter exploitation of labour migrants and attract and retain international expertise and counter the expulsion of skilled workers. This was the first in a series of forthcoming proposed amendments to regulations on labour migration. The government has further tasked an inquiry to investigate the potential to introduce labour market tests to address social dumping and worker’s exploitation.

In June 2022, the government tasked an inquiry to investigate how language and social skills requirements for permanent residence permits should be designed in a way that is appropriate, legally secure and effective.

In June 2022, the parliament adopted further amendments to regulations in the Aliens Act, which will come into force in August 2022, making it possible to expel aliens who commit criminal offences in more cases than presently.

The government has tasked an inquiry to propose new regulations for the initial reception of asylum seekers. One of the aims of the inquiry is to investigate to what extent refugees can be incentivised to live in state-provided accommodation during their first time in Sweden. New regulations to limit the share of refugees living in own accommodation were introduced already in 2020, to prevent asylum seekers to move to areas with socio-economic challenges.

In April 2021, the Public Employment Service started implementing the Intensive Year for newly arrived immigrants. The aim of the initiative is that highly motived newly arrived immigrants get a job within one year, by taking part in a combination of integration measures. The focus is on language training, measures that are closely tied to a workplace and shorter training courses. New measures within the Intensive Year are intensive internship and a mentorship programme with an economic compensation to employers who offer mentorships. Furthermore, Entry Agreements, a new model for getting long-term unemployed and newly arrived immigrants into the labour market and to ease future skills supply for employers, are expected to be introduced in 2022.

As of April 2022, travellers from outside the EU and the EEA will no longer be subject to COVID-19 related entry requirements when entering Sweden. The COVID-19 entry requirements for the EU, the EEA and the Nordic countries were lifted in February 2022.

For further information: www.migrationsverket.se | www.scb.se | www.regeringen.se

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