What is the change? Foreign nationals applying for work permits, residence permits, visitor’s visas or other immigration services may experience significant delays as Swedish authorities devote increased resources toward helping thousands of asylum seekers.

What does the change mean? Employers should leave ample time when submitting applications and should take steps to eliminate unnecessary delays by ensuring that applications and supporting documentation are complete.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, residence permits, visitor’s visas and other immigration-related services.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals seeking work permits, residence permits, visitor’s visas or other immigration-related services.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times have been significantly delayed. First-time work permit applications, for example, are taking about 20 business days to process. Extensions are taking about 30 business days. Residence permits for dependents and spouses moving to Sweden may require more than a year.
  • Business impact: Employers may need to adjust timelines and start dates because of the delays.
  • Next steps: Processing times may change on short notice. BAL will continue to monitor the fluctuations.

Background: Europe is experiencing a refugee crisis of a magnitude that has not been seen since World War II—and Sweden is one of the top destinations for asylum seekers. Immigration authorities recently announced they would be reallocating resources toward helping process thousands of asylum cases, increasing lead times that are needed for work permit applications or other more routine immigration services. Work permit applications will be handled in the order in which they are received. Immigration authorities will not approve requests for priority processing.

BAL Analysis: If possible, employers should initiate cases three to four months before an employee’s expected start date. It is also important that applications and supporting documentation be complete in order to avoid unnecessary delays. It may be best to avoid short-term assignments, and employers should make sure they have completed any required negotiations with labor unions ahead of time.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Sweden. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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