New legislation to help foreign postgraduates stay on

On 1 July this year, new legislation will come into force in Sweden that includes measures which will make it considerably easier for foreign doctoral candidates and students to stay and work in the country after graduating.

An agreement between the outgoing Alliance government and the Swedish Green party will secure a majority vote for the proposal in the parliament.

Doctoral candidates are included in the legal text together with international migrant workers, and they will be able to qualify for permanent residence permits after their studies, so long as they have spent four out of the past seven years in Sweden with a study permit.

Foreign students will also be allowed to stay in Sweden after graduating, to apply for work or investigate the possibility of establishing their own company. The draft legislation does not specify how long they will be able to stay, but it could be for six months after graduation.

Also, applicants for asylum in Sweden who do not get their application approved, will have opportunities to apply for status as migrant workers seeking employment, by reducing the time for changing their application track from six to four months.

The motion is part of a more extensive new legislation on migration to Sweden.

A month before a new government will be elected in Sweden, the outgoing government of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is clarifying the situation for foreign students seeking work in Sweden. The position has been rather restrictive until now, as reported by University World News.

In 2012, in an article in the major newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Minister of Education Jan Bjorklund said his and the government's ambition was to make it easier for young researchers from abroad to settle and work in Sweden.

As well as covering the new law, Svenska Dagbladet reported on an unpublished survey by the company i-graduate of foreign student satisfaction across several dimensions, based on information from students in 170 universities.

Spokesperson for the survey, Nannette Ripmeester, said foreign students in Sweden were least satisfied among all surveyed regarding the opportunities to obtain work in the host country on graduation - and about how their studies had prepared them for working life.