Answer every possible question before it is asked!
This is our mantra and almost daily we see the nuances change in Swedish immigration. The Migration Agency is understaffed, and while they do a phenomenal job the bar is raised consistently and we help them do it.
A couple of years back we were invited by the Swedish Migration Agency for a daylong meeting. That happens every year or so and they present new policies, laws, and mostly their tech developments. This is an exciting day for immigration nerds. One of the things that were brought up was that we facilitate so much that they come to expect to see much more than is actually required for an application. From an Immigration provider perspective, we know how much our clients suffer if there are delays due to unexpected queries, hence we try to preempt them. We are in other words part of the problem.
Between a rock and hard place
Each case officer may interpret the law the way they see it. We work with many case officers and each interpretation, question, or nuance is picked up and becomes part of our working model.
Because we cover all bases for all case officers so our clients don’t suffer delayed approvals due to not answering a possible question from the start. At the same time, we don’t want to overdo it by asking for more than the absolute necessity to make it a smooth process for the client.
Just lately, we have had a change in the law for dependents and their requirements for Permanent Residency. Back to the drawing board, update questionnaires, add yet another document to the process. Same with the ex-pat tax, as well as recent history with applications to move to Sweden.
Everything we do to keep our clients within timelines for key personnel is done full stop. We have a four-eye policy and have daily knowledge huddles to make sure we are all up to date with every little instance or question that someone has had to avoid delays in the future.
Movement between employers
In the fall of 2021, we have noticed a great deal of movement between employers. Not only do talents already in Sweden change employers more often than in the past, but we have also had people change employers even before they move here. Why we can only speculate in, but we think that the timelines outside the fast track processing that some companies can get access through Nimmersion standing as a Certified Partner to the Migration Agency can glean some insights here.
If a person is hired by a Swedish company that doesn’t have access to the fast track through a company like Nimmersion it will become apparent that the start date of the job is so far into the future that it’s simply not possible or of interest to the talent.
What now? The job in Sweden is too far into the future!
However, they have been in contact with recruiters in Sweden and Talent Acquisition teams that often work with several companies and they see that another company may be able to bring them here sooner. At this point, the talent knows to ask whether the employer can offer fast-track work permits. However, it was recently announced that it is no longer possible to change employers even before you have started. In other words, the first company that offered a job is the processing timelines you are stuck with, although the new employer has access to the fast track.
The obvious solution for a talented individual is to say YES to a new job offer.
They have checked that the company has access to the fast track and life feels more certain again.
Yet, it isn’t.
The first application category will override the new one in spite of having been properly canceled. This is to safeguard that companies will not cancel applications due to long timelines, get a certified partner like Nimmersion and get access to the fast-track. The Migration Agency considers it not playing by the rules and will treat the application as if it was applied for outside the fast track.
Change of employer application is what we call Risk Applications!
These applications require a great deal from the Talent Acquisition teams, HR, and the individual to look very deeply into the work permit history. Even very small mistakes can cause an eviction, however, small mistakes can most often be corrected if found in time.
A new employer should safeguard their own and their new talent’s legal standing and the possibility to continue to stay and work in Sweden.
When both parties are excited about a new relationship and all the great things that they will do and create together, talking about immigration and compliance is understandably not top of mind. However, it will be if there’s a problem down the line and fortunately, the Nimmersion Immigration team are problem solvers. Yes, as we all know early detection is the best cure and it also holds true in immigration.
Just this week we had a situation where a person came to his office in Sweden and presented himself as an EU national, while he was actually from South America. There can be exceptions for some nationalities to enter before working here, but without a proper visa exploration, there’s no way to know how great the risk is. This employee is going to be quite disappointed when it turns out that the timeline for a work permit is 9-14 months. This is an example of when listening to the employee, who is not likely to have any immigration knowledge, instead of digging deep into the situation will likely result in that the person won’t be able to come to Sweden. At least not when he wanted to move here.
What can employers do to protect their talents?
Do the necessary visa exploration BEFORE engaging in a lengthy recruitment process.
Make sure talent isn’t in Sweden and never let them start working until a visa assessment has been made.
Finding solutions is what the Nimmersion team is doing every day, not every mistake or oversight must mean that a person is unemployable for a Swedish company. Some things are easily fixed while others take a bit more care. The start is to know if there is a problem, the next step is to solve it.
Can we keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best?
Absolutely, if you are willing to take the risk of eviction, fines, and prison sentence for HR. Illegal labor, oversight or not, is a focus area for the police and Migration agency. It can severely hinder a company from hiring third-country nationals in the future, and the fast track benefit will be revoked and it does hurt the employer brand. No upside to taking this risk in other words.
We don’t want to Debbie the Downer
but, prevention is the best cure. To assess risk beforehand and correct whatever is wrong is the best strategy for everyone involved. Having a professional check the terms, dig deep into each small detail in the history, and offer solutions makes for a far better stay and the close colleagues don’t have to lose sleep over a talent that may be evicted.
When in doubt, call a solutions provider.
Nimmersion works closely with the Migration Agency AND our clients to help safe, compliant, and create good situations for all stakeholders.
I guess what I’m saying is…. CALL US when you have a risk application or don't know the talent's history in Sweden. We can help.