A previous inquiry suggested that foreigners with temporary residence permits for work be allowed to apply for a residence permit for research from within Sweden. The government now wants the same rule to apply if the application concerns studies at doctoral level.
Inconsistent rule changes
The proposals can be found in the Council on Legislation’s consultation document ”Improved Measures Regarding Labour Immigration”. The motive for the proposal is that it would promote the retention of international competence in the country.
“It’s good news that the government is proposing this in the consultation document,” says SULF’s chief negotiator Robert Andersson. “SULF advocated the same in its response to the inquiry.”
But he points out the inconsistency in the government’s actions by referring to the rule changes that came into force in the Aliens Act in the summer of 2021, which make it more or less impossible for newly qualified PhD graduates to obtain a permanent residence permit.
“In general, it’s interesting that they think it’s important to keep those who start a doctoral programme in the country, but obviously not as important to keep them when they have finished their studies,” says Andersson.
Probably an oversight
He also points out another inconsistency in the regulations regarding foreign researchers’ residence permits.
“SULF has previously raised that it’s strange that people who have a residence permit to look for work after completing their studies or research cannot be granted a residence permit for further research or studies without first leaving Sweden. If, on the other hand, they take a job that doesn’t involve research, that’s fine.”
Robert Andersson believes that this is probably due to an oversight in the preparation of the legislation that no-one noticed.
“We have now raised the issue in connection with the question of permanent residence permits for newly qualified PhDs and hopefully it can be resolved in the forthcoming Government Bill following the Council on Legislation’s referral. It seems natural that both people who have a residence permit for work and those who have a residence permit to apply for work – and who during that year may work freely in Sweden – should also be able apply for a residence permit for research and doctoral studies from within Sweden.