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Research projects

Labour needs, dependency and equal treatment - Application of the Swedish Regulation of Labour Immigration

About this project

Project information

Project status




Research subject

This project concerns the application of the legislation on labour migration, which took effect in Sweden in 2008.

The reasons for the 2008 regulation has been said to be the ageing population and also labour shortages in certain sectors of the Swedish labour market. One innovation in the legislation was that the labour market authorities would no longer assess the need for manpower in the field in question. Instead the individual needs of employers were to be the starting point in matters of work permits.

It was stressed that labour immigrants were not to be allowed to displace the labour already existing in the country and that wages, insurance and other employment conditions were to be on a par with those enjoyed by workers in the country. Equal conditions were to be safeguarded by the Immigration Board and the social partners.
In this project a few questions concern the achievement of the goal of equality with workers already in the country:
In view of the weakened position of trade unions and collective agreements:

  • How are the actual employment conditions checked, where there is no union representation in the workplace?
  • What are the opportunities for an immigrated worker to change employers if employment conditions do not meet the contract?
  • Is there access to counselling and support for immigrated workers?

Employers have been given a lot of power by the rules. Thus the requirements imposed on them are crucial. Examples of questions asked in the project are:

  • How is the employer’s ability to pay wages assessed by the Migration Board?
  • Does the Migration Board consider whether the employer has paid taxes and met collective agreements and other contracts, etc. in matters of work permits?
  • Is it a requirement that the employer engage in business or may he or she also be a private person/household?
  • How is the principle of equality with workers in Sweden taken into account if the employer is situated abroad?

Research funding bodies

  • The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE)