Sweden moves to allow freer flow of labour
( dpa )- The Swedish government Thursday, along with the opposition Green Party, presented a proposal to allow freer flow of labour from countries outside the European Union.
The proposal would replace the current system where the state Swedish Public Employment Service assesses the needs of the labour market, Migration Minister Tobias Billstrom and Mikaela Valtersson, group leader of the Green Party, said at a joint news conference.
"We need legislation that offers Swedish companies the means to recruit the skilled labour they need, regardless where it is located," Billstrom said.
A foreign worker from outside the 27-nation EU or countries that belong to the European Economic Area would under the proposal be able to secure a residential and employment permit, valid for two years, if able to present a job offer from a Swedish employer.
The permit could be extended a further two years and if the worker still had employment, it would then be possible to apply for permanent residency in Sweden.
Employment and contract terms were to be in line with existing terms for employees in Sweden.
Some details have earlier been outlined by Billstrom who said it was necessary to attract labour in order to tackle the effects of an ageing population and a shrinking future labour force.
Swedish businesses have reported shortages of welders and electricians, but their is also need for doctors and civil engineers.
Currently, work permits can be granted for up to 18 months but a parliamentary commission in 2006 suggested increasing the period to 24 months.
The Council on Legislation, a panel of judges, was to review the legal effects of the proposal.