Sweden Implements Stricter Income Requirements for Foreign Workers

Wed Feb 21 2024
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Sweden has recently implemented stricter income requirements for foreign workers, stirring concerns among migrants like Iryna Halubuskaya, who fear the implications for their residency status.

Halubuskaya, originally from Belarus, is among many affected by the new regulations, which demand a significant increase in monthly earnings to qualify for a work visa.

The Swedish government, led by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, aims to limit migration and prioritize highly skilled labor. Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard emphasizes the need to shift focus to Swedish citizens and individuals already residing in the country, citing the high unemployment rate as a driving factor behind the policy change.

However, the sudden hike in income criteria has posed challenges for both workers and employers. Small business owners like Jennyfer Aydogdyeva, who runs a cleaning company, are struggling to meet the new requirements while supporting their employees, many of whom are mothers.

The impact of the income requirement extends beyond individual workers to sectors like restaurants and cleaning services, where migrant workers play a significant role. Critics argue that the measures are discriminatory and could exacerbate existing labor shortages, particularly in the healthcare sector.

While the government aims to encourage employers to prioritize local hires, concerns persist regarding the potential consequences of pushing up median wages and limiting opportunities for foreign workers. The absence of a minimum wage further complicates the situation, with salary levels determined by sector-specific negotiations and collective agreements.

Ultimately, the new regulations reflect a broader shift in Sweden’s immigration policy, with implications for both migrant workers and the labor market as a whole. The long-term impact of these changes remains uncertain, prompting ongoing debate and scrutiny from various stakeholders.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp