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New State minimum wage for Swedish work permit 'not thought through' claims Almega
The decision by Riksdag, Sweden's legislature and supreme decision-making body, to vote through the previous Government's proposal on improving the standard of living for non-EU labour immigrants - including those involved in cleaning - has been dubbed by Patrick Joyce, chief economist at service companies' organisation Almega, 'a bad proposal' .
In future, an income that guarantees a 'good livelihood' will be required to obtain a work permit as a labour immigrant from a non-EU country.
How much income will be required is determined by the Government, but the agreement mentions a wage level corresponding to the median wage, which is currently SEK 33,200 per month.
"This is a bad proposal," says Patrick. "It is an important principle that wages are determined in negotiations between employers and trade unions, not by the state."
Since 2008, Sweden has had a simple regulatory framework for labour immigration from countries outside the EU. People who are offered a job with pay and conditions according to an agreement or practice in the profession receive a work permit for two years with the possibility of extension. This system has served Sweden well and according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, it has provided an advantage for Sweden in the competition for international talent.
"The current system already guarantees that everyone with a work permit can make a living," says Patrick. "What a government income floor will mean in reality, is that it will be impossible for many industries to hire labour immigrants."
Almega's calculations also show that with an income floor of SEK 33,200 a month, just over half of the labour immigrants currently working in Sweden would lose their work permit.
"It will hit many service industries hard," warns Patrick. "Hotels and restaurants, care and cleaning and service are losing employees and will not be able to recruit labour immigrants in the future. This also applies in professions where there is a great shortage of staff, for example chefs."
Labour immigration to Sweden amounts to roughly 20,000 people annually. Most stay in Sweden for a couple of years and support themselves and their companions. Laboru immigration has also contributed SEK 34 billion to Swedish GDP and SEK 12 billion in tax revenue every year.
1st December 2022