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Sweden: Residence permits might disrupt int. research

A coalition of Swedish unions have raised their concern about the country’s new migration law, passed in June. They are claiming it might have negative effects in the long run and disincentivise incoming international researchers from coming to work in Sweden. In their words, political discussions around the requirements for new residence permits focused entirely on asylum migration whilst not considering other societal groups such as researchers and PhD candidates coming from non-EU-EEA countries, who are expected to be affected by the new legislation. 

Amongst others, one of the requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit is a proof of a permanent or fixed-term employment contract of at least 18 months from permit application date or, in some cases, the proof of trial employment or other means of support, which can’t include unemployment benefits. This is a big problem for many PhD candidates who are usually employed on short term contracts that are extended either annually or for three to six months. 

According to the unions, around 40% of all PhD candidates and around 75% of all staff working after obtaining their PhD have a foreign background. The need to retain this talent is recognised by several actors in Swedish HE who are recognising their necessity not only for Swedish HE and research landscape, but also for wider society. 

The unions involved in the call towards the Swedish government are Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers (SULF), SULF Doctoral Candidate Association, Swedish National Union of Students (SFS), and SFS Doctoral Student Committee. Some of them are already providing guidelines for international researchers . 

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University World News