International students and researchers in Sweden will from 1 January 2020 be able to stay in Sweden for up to a year after graduating to look for jobs.
The current permit rules have allowed students who want to stay in Sweden after their course finishes to apply for a residence permit for up to six additional months, providing they fulfil certain criteria.
The approval of new rules around international student residence permits by Sweden’s government at the end of last week will extend the time for up to a year if the students want to look for work or set up their own business in Sweden.
To be eligible for the permit, international students must have completed a course of at least two terms in Sweden and – per the proposals wording – be “highly qualified people with in-demand skills on the labour market” and financially self-sufficient.
Speaking to Global Education Times, Louise Corrigan, International Migration Coordinator at Lund University, welcomed the announcement and said: “This is a very positive development indeed, as the new law makes it easier for international students to navigate, and clear, many of the Swedish Migration Agency’s requirements.
“There are many positive aspects, for instance, students in certain programmes [will] now [be] eligible for two-year residence permits (permits have previously been valid only for one year at a time) and students being able to stay in Sweden for much to longer, if they have a current residence permit for studies in another EU state.”
The Local Sweden reported that a statement from the Swedish parliament said: “The purpose of the proposals is to attract more researchers and students from countries outside the EU, to facilitate for those who have been trained here to stay and look for work, and thus to promote knowledge and innovation.”
International students requirement for maintenance funds in Sweden amended
The requirement that students should have enough money to fund their time in Sweden is also to be scrapped in its current form.
The new permits, however, will accept students proving their current means of support and/or proof of future access to funds – including grants and scholarships.
Corrigan added: “The funding requirement [is] now being loosened in order to allow for more ways for students to show that they have sufficient financial means to study in Sweden.
“The funding requirement will still be in place; it will just be modified (and more generously applied).”
The proposals will also make temporary movement between EU countries easier.
From 2020, it will be possible for someone who has previously had a permit for study or residence in another EU state to stay in and carry out part of their studies or research in Sweden.
Reflecting on future possibilities to ease restrictions for international students in Sweden, Maria Lindblad, International Marketing Manager at Lund University, told GET News: “It would be helpful to simplify the possibilities for companies to get involved and provide scholarships for international students. And in general, more scholarship options and flexibility around scholarships would also be beneficial for international student recruitment.”
Underlining Sweden’s attractiveness to international students, Monika Wirkkala, Head of the Talent Attraction Unit, Swedish Institute, told Global Education Times: “Right now we are seeing a big increase of interest for studies in Sweden. The number of applicants to Swedish universities for studies beginning in autumn 2020, is currently 48% higher than a year ago.
“This is a trend. Last year the increase was about 20%. It is important and relevant for Sweden as a nation with a legislation that attract talents and seek to retain that competence in the country.”
Wirkkala believes this legislation could further advance that attractiveness Sweden holds as a study abroad destination.
She added: “The extended period for international students to stay on in Sweden up till 1 year, looking for work or being self-employed, is an extremely positive change.
“This will make studying in Sweden even more attractive as there is a good opportunity to look for a job after completing your studies. It makes the costs for your studies worthwhile.”
Pic: Jonathan Brinkhorst
Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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