In this article, we will take a look at how non-EU/EEA migrants to Sweden can gain permanent residence. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.
Sweden is renowned for its friendly people, clean and green (albeit sometimes very cold) environment, wonderful nature, excellent public services, and strong work-life balance. Its cities are full of culture, history, restaurants, architecture, and museums which are the envy of the world. If all of that was not enough, it gives you easy access to the rest of Europe. English is also taught to children at a very young age in Sweden, meaning that you may have fewer problems in being able to communicate. Every year, over 100,000 migrants make Sweden their new home country, with the largest number coming from Afghanistan, Syria, India, Eritrea, and Iran in 2019. In this article, we will take a look at how non-EU/EEA migrants to Sweden can gain permanent residence.
Yes, like many other countries in the EU, it is possible to gain permanent residence status (permanent uppehållstillstånd) in Sweden after living and working (whether employed or self-employed) for a period of five years. It is also possible to secure permanent residence if you are a non-EU/EEA spouse who is moving to live with a Swedish citizen or an EU citizen.
To gain permanent residence in Sweden, you will need to have evidence that you:
It is important to note, however, time spent on certain permits, such as for study or visiting, will not count towards the five years required for permanent residence, as these are only valid for a strict time period.
As a permanent residence permit holder in Sweden, you will be able to live and work indefinitely, and you will no longer need to keep renewing your permit to remain in the country. This will not only save your time and money, but it will also provide you with a great deal of certainty for you and your family. You will not be subject to restrictions when it comes to work, meaning you can switch employers at any time. Permanent residents are also eligible for student loans and grants from the country’s National Board of Student Aid. Under the Swedish family unification system, you will also be able to bring your family members to join you in Sweden.
Under the old Swedish immigration rules, migrants who had been living in the country for four years could then apply for PR, but this was changed in 2019. PR applicants can now only apply within 14 days before their current residence permit’s expiry date. Employing earlier than this risks receiving an immediate refusal.
To make an application for permanent residence in Sweden, you will first need to complete and submit the form ‘Ansökan om ställning som varaktigt bosatt sverige'. As this is printed in Swedish, you may need the assistance of a Swedish speaker to help you complete the form. Once the form is filled in, it should be sent to Swedish Migration Agency by post or electronically. You will need to include a copy of your passport and evidence that you and your family have been living in Sweden for the last five years and how you can support your family financially. The Swedish Migration Agency will explain which documents to supply for them to consider your application, however, these may include your contract/s of employment, evidence of your income over the five years (e.g. your tax statements), evidence of pension contributions, and bank statements. You will also need to pay the required application fee of 1,000 SEK and provide proof of full payment.
At present, there is no requirement for applicants to speak Swedish in order to gain permanent residence. However, the Swedish immigration system is currently being reviewed new proposals state may result in permanent residence only being granted to foreign nationals who meet certain new requirements. The government committee has proposed that “permanent residence permits should only be granted to aliens who meet the requirements of Swedish language skills and civic knowledge, who can support themselves, and where there is no doubt, with regard to the alien’s expected way of life, that a permanent residence permit should be granted. A permanent residence permit should also be conditional on the alien having held a temporary Swedish residence permit for at least three years”. It is believed that these changes will not only impact asylum seekers to Sweden but also to anyone currently holding a temporary residence permit who wishes to switch to a permanent residence permit.
If these new languages and civic knowledge rules are implemented, some migrants on temporary residence permits may need to start learning the Swedish language sooner rather than later to ensure they have a sufficient standard of competence by the time they apply for PR. As yet, it is not clear if these changes will come into force, and if so, when they will. It is possible that if these new rules are implemented, there may be exemptions brought in such that the new requirements only apply to those between 18 and 65 years old.
Given the potential for new rule changes in the future, those who are currently living in Sweden and are eligible for PR may want to consider applying sooner. If you need any assistance with your application, speak to the Swedish Migration Agency or an Immigration Solicitor. They will be able to explain whether you and your family will be able to secure permanent residence in Sweden, and if so, the best pathway to choose based on your circumstances and future plans.
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