What you need to know about the Swedish Migration Agency

If you are considering bringing a foreign expat to Sweden, there are some things you should know about the process. Most important is knowing that you will be waiting on approvals from the Swedish Migration Agency so you will need to follow their strict protocol. Let’s look at the overall protocol and at specific sections that cause issues.


If your new transfer falls into any of these categories they will not need to apply for a work permit:

  • have a permanent residence permit already
  • have a residence permit to attend a college or university, they may work a little bit on the side. You need to really know at what level they are studying and that they are getting enough credit each school term to be part of the benefit.
  • have a special residence permit to work as a visiting researcher
  • are an asylum seeker and have an AT-UND (exemption from the obligation to hold a work permit)
  • are a citizen of an EU country.

That said, members of some occupations and citizens of some countries are subject to special regulations for working in Sweden while certain occupations get a more lenient pass. 

Either way, you should have an immigration expert double check all the facts on your new hire and their work and citizenship history so they are able to move to Sweden and fill your skills gap as soon as possible without any glitches. Doing a Visa exploration before you hire someone is an insurance that you can keep this important talent in your company.

3 useful things to know about the immigration process

Here are 3 important things to note about the Swedish Migration Agency and the immigration process to Sweden.

1 – There are things you can do to keep the process moving quickly and smoothly:

  • All documents must be submitted in English or Swedish. Documents submitted in other languages could slow down the process as it requires translators.
  • If the work permit application is submitted online, the Migration Board will begin processing it soon after it has been filed. There may be delays if it is submitted through an embassy or consulate general because this way it is sent to the Migration Board in Sweden and you add a second layer of case officers.
  • You will receive a faster decision if all required documents are sent in together with the application, rather than adding documents to the application later. If you do the application will be deemed incomplete and it can turn into a very long-winded affair.
  • Nationals that require visas to travel to Sweden need to apply for their biometric residence card with their home embassy after the work permit after been approved before they arrive in Sweden. This is a blessing in disguise since the biometrics appointments are difficult to get within a reasonable time period upon arrival.
  • Nationals not requiring a Visa may enter and complete the biometric residence card process in Sweden. Do setup the appointment as soon as the application has been handed in with some margin for travel.

2 – The Swedish Migration Agency is often overburdened and this may cause delays in the process, so plan ahead. Include buffer time for delays. It is a great idea to give yourself and your new hire a big window for their start date. Some of our clients work out a plan for their foreign expert to freelance from their home country if time is of the essence.

3 – Details are extremely important. Check your facts and have a perfect paper trail of your new hire’s work history, especially if he/she has been living in Sweden and working for another Swedish company. If your new hire’s previous company made any mistakes on their paperwork your firm could pay the price. If this is the case, we recommend that an expert review all previous Swedish immigration paperwork for your new hire.

Are you bringing global talent to Sweden?

If you have any additional questions about bringing employees to Sweden, don’t hesitate to reach out for a complimentary consultation.

If you would like to learn more about the process you might be interested in these articles:

  • This article about who is considered by the Swedish migration agency to be a family member of a relocating employee.
  • This article about how to safely bring a non-EU hire to Sweden.
  • This article about the two most common questions employers ask about Swedish immigration.

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