Court ruling tightens residency rules for Sweden’s ‘high school law’


Rejected asylum seekers hoping to stay in Sweden under the so-called high-school law (gymnasielagen) will now have to have signed a job contract before their temporary residency runs out, following a court judgement.

Published: 23 March 2023 08:22 CET

A demonstration for unaccompanied child asylum seekers in Stockholm in 2018. Many were able to stay in Sweden as a result of the ‘high school law’. Photo: Anna Karolina Eriksson/TT kod 10510

The law, brought in by the former Social Democrat and Green Party coalition, was recently described as a “half-amnesty” by Mikael Ribbenvik, the outgoing head of the Migration Agency. 

Under the law, asylum seekers who have completed upper secondary school education can be given permanent residency if they show they can support themselves. 

Previously it was enough to be able to support yourself at the point when the Migration Agency handles your case. 

But after a judgment from the Migration Court of Appeal, the Migration Agency now believes that the applicant must have started their job before their temporary residency expires. 

“The Migration Court of Appeal’s new judgement means that the requirement for permanent residency must be met both when one applies and when the Migration Agency handles the application,” Carl Bexelius, the agency’s legal chief said in a press release. 

The change means that it is no longer possible to receive permanent residency if you only have an offer of work when you apply, or a contract which only starts after your temporary residency runs out. 

The Migration Agency requires those applying for permanent residency under the law to have a permanent job or a contract lasting at least two years. 

“In practice, this is going to mean that you get your application rejected if you had a two year contract when the temporary residency ran out, but at the time your case is handled, you have less than two years of the contract remaining,” the agency wrote. 

The new requirement applies immediately and will affect even those who have already handed in their applications.  

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