In the Swedish government's Budget Bill, there is a strong focus on how the situation around COVID-19 has affected the Swedish Migration Agency’s operations. The global pandemic had a vast effect on the possibility to travel across boarders which has resulted in fewer applications for residence and work permits.

In the Budget Bill, the Government also emphasizes the importance that the Swedish Migration Agency need to work more efficiently in order to shorten processing times. According to the Swedish government, the focus should be to streamline processes and improve digitalization.

Furthermore, the continued work on an improved system for labor immigration (Ett förbättrat system för arbetskraftsinvandring, SOU 2021:5 (sw)), which KPMG has wrote about in previous TaxNews (sw), is mentioned. The proposal is currently being reviewed and the latest official information shows that the plan is to submit a bill to the parliament in January 2022. KPMG closely monitor the continued legislative work. The proposal is based on a need for an improved system to avoid that highly skilled workers receive rejections due to administrative mistakes and to simultaneously ensure a regulatory framework that prevents employees from being exploited in the Swedish labor market.

KPMG comment

The situation around COVID-19 and the global pandemic has once again shown how global circumstances affect the Swedish Migration Agency's operations.

During the year, we have seen how legislation is lacking or has not been flexible in order to handle situations that have arisen due to restrictions in e.g. travelling. These include employees who has not been able to start employment within 4 months but instead had to withdraw their applications and re-apply.

Travel restrictions have also clarified the complexity around the fact that both the border police and the airlines are responsible parties in current regulations regarding travel. When rules change quickly or have not been communicated in a stringent way it has led to uncertainty about what applies to comply with current regulations for crossing borders.

KPMG welcomes the continued work of reducing processing times as these continues to be long for certain types of permits. Especially long are applications for citizenship or applications as a dependent of a Swedish citizen. Applications as a dependent to a Swedish citizen may become relevant for families who have lived abroad and are moving back to Sweden together.

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