The warmest summer in 260 years has really been something! We now hear from some well-rested HRs that are returning to their hot offices without air conditioners. While the heat is unprecedented, the questions we get from HR and law firms tend to be the same each year in August. Let's take a look.
The most common HR questions each August:
“When can we expect our work permits to clear? We are worried since the start date is in August.”
To prepare our clients and ourselves for the summer slowdown we always reach out to the the Migration Agency during the spring to ask them if they will be able to honor their commitment to the certified immigration companies, and uphold the processing time for work permits. We got the same answer as usual which is YES, we can!
However, as usual, due to the summer staff coverage issue, the timelines have not been kept. So, the answer to this question is that we are seeing several weeks delay in application processing times. This said, we also see inconsistencies in delivery times. Some applications do get through within the timeline, which makes it all the more confusing to the applicants who hear the success stories and then worry whether there is a problem with their application or if it was lost within the agency. There is no need for worry as we have already weeded out any possible problems, however it maybe necessary to adjust the start date for your talent resource.
“Hooray, our new employee is here, but we need the Personal Number to set up mandatory insurances and a salary payment administration, what is holding us back? What can we do?”
Only a fool expects different results while doing the same thing. So, we are always tweaking and thinking of ways to cut unnecessary waiting time. The timelines for the application approvals is one challenge, the other challenge is the Residence Permit Cards (RPC) that are needed for entry and for the local registrations which will qualify you for a Swedish Personal Number.
No, it’s not sufficient to show your approval letter to the local registration office. The Residence Card must also provided as proof of identity. As the savvy and eloquent lady from the Tax Authority points out each year when she holds a seminar, all the Swedish authorities operate like SILOs which means they don’t always take into consideration the practicalities for the people they are serving and the obstacles created by other authorities.
For instance, the Tax Authority doesn’t take into consideration the personal tragedies they create by not issuing personal identification numbers on time. There are necessary insurances that require a personal number to be set up. We have seen instances where 24 months have gone by and, if the Migration Agency finds out a new hire did not have their proper insurance since day one the expat might possibly be asked to leave the country.
This can be very frustrating for all involved, however, my immigration colleagues around the world tell me they have similar struggles. So we are looking to find all the work arounds, which last week’s blog post went into detail on. (And at least we don't have to worry about corruption here).
The most efficient place to cut down the time entry to Sweden is by doing as much as possible before arrival while the application is pending. Just last week a client had to travel across all of Sweden to get a biometrics appointment for the RPC 10 days later. Take a look at the blog post where we share arrival hacks about work permits.
“A family with children is coming and only the employee received a permit. The children’s permits are stuck at the Migration Agency and school starts in two weeks. What shall we do?”
There are many frustrated and raised voices at the offices where a colleague is expected to come and add to a team at a specific date. Unfortunately, they are unable to come because there is a delay with the family member’s permits. If a permit has been pending for more than six months a request for a decision can be issued to the agency. Otherwise it’s the good old nagging, which may or may not work.
If we call the Migration Agency daily (reaching a person there can take many, many hours) or bombard them with follow up emails, they have even less time to do what is needed, which is working on applications. Therefore, we really try to moderate our chasing to be when it’s really needed rather than for the sake of having done it. This is part of our gentleman’s agreement to have an understanding that they are only human and are doing the best they can with the resources they’ve got.
So to recap,
The Migration Agency staff is slowly coming back to work and there is hope that deadlines will again be met in a few weeks. Even if it may not always feel like it, we are all working towards the same end goal.
If you’re planning to bring foreign talent to Sweden, navigating an unfamiliar culture and immigration process can slow you down. Thankfully, Nimmersion’s Immigration Guide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden is here to help. Let’s get your new talent down to business!