Swedish Migration Agency asks to pause fast-track scheme for delayed permits

Sweden's Migration Agency has called for a "temporary pause" in the processing of so-called delayed work permit and citizenship cases, which means individuals would no longer be able to request a decision to be made on their case after four or six months have passed.

Swedish Migration Agency asks to pause fast-track scheme for delayed permits
Mikeal Ribbenvik, Migration Agency general director, at a press conference. File photo. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Migration Agency’s general director Mikael Ribbenvik explained in a press release that the agency had requested the pause in order to cut waiting times.

“We can see that handling these delayed cases takes far too many resources away from normal processing,” he said.

“This leads to longer processing times, which goes against the whole idea of the rule.”

The request, submitted by the Migration Agency, the Swedish courts and the administrative courts in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, proposes that the government pauses the processing of delayed cases for 18 months. This proposal would apply to work permit and citizenship cases, in order to cut processing times.

Despite taking measures to cut waiting times for work permits and citizenship cases, the Migration Agency admits that waiting times are still long, with a growing number of cases – including delayed cases – meaning that resources cannot be used effectively.

The possibility of applying to have a delayed case expedited was introduced in summer 2018 to help those who had been waiting a long time to get an answer on their citizenship or work permit application to speed up the Migration Agency’s decision and thereby cut waiting times.

However, Ribbenvik stated, the agency warned that this could lead to longer waiting times when it was proposed.

“In our response to the consultation stage of the law, we pointed out that this could lead to the opposite – longer waiting times, as our employees have to dedicate their time to these delayed cases instead of responding to applications for citizenship or work permits,” he said.

Facts and figures

Applications for work permits and citizenship increased by 18 percent in 2022 compared with 2018.

In 2022, around 190,000 applications for work permits or citizenship were submitted.

In 2022, around 75,000 applications for a response on delayed cases were submitted.

The average waiting time for work permits is 171 days.

The average waiting time for citizenship is 431 days.

In recent years, between 13,000 and 33,000 decisions on delayed cases were appealed.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden’s new work permit salary set to affect ’10-20 percent of applicants’

Up to around one fifth of all work permit applicants are expected to fall short of Sweden’s new salary requirement, according to the Migration Agency. But many details are still unclear, including when it will actually come into force.

Sweden's new work permit salary set to affect '10-20 percent of applicants'

How much a foreigner has to earn to be eligible for a work permit will soon be raised from a salary of 13,000 kronor a month to 27,360 kronor, the Migration Agency said in a new press release.

The government originally planned for the new rules to come into force next month, but the date has now been changed to November 1st, although this is just a target date as the government has yet to make a formal decision.


The new salary requirement is set to 80 percent of Sweden’s median salary as announced by Statistics Sweden’s yearly updates. The median salary was raised to 34,200 kronor this summer, which is why the 27,360 kronor requirement is higher than what was announced in spring. That’s the minimum requirement – the salary also needs to be in line with industry standards or collective bargaining agreements.

“Our assessment is that around 10-20 percent of those who apply for work permits will not reach the new salary requirement and will be directly affected,” a Migration Agency lawyer said in the press release.

Going forward, the salary requirement will be based on Statistics Sweden’s last published median salary at the time a work permit application is submitted. This is updated every year, most recently June 20th, and can be found here.

It is however not yet clear whether the implementation of the new rules will apply retroactively to people who apply for a work permit before November 1st 2023, but who haven’t receive an answer on their application by then.

Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard told The Local in February that there would be a one-year grace period during which the old 13,000 kronor salary threshold would apply, but more recent government statements have made no mention of a transition period.

A Migration Agency spokesperson told The Local on Monday that they were still looking into how to apply the new rules, specifically how they might affect various groups and those with pending applications.

The new rules will also affect work permit holders who apply to renew their permit, meaning that the most recently published median salary will determine the salary requirement for the renewed permit. So if you received a work permit under the old 13,000 kronor threshold a couple of years ago, you will have to earn more than 27,360 kronor to be eligible for a work permit extension from November 1st.