Opening doors to labour immigration – lessons from Sweden

Policy Brief


In 2008, Sweden undertook a thorough reform of its labour immigration system, that aimed to create a one-size-fits-all system for all kind of labour immigration. The goal was the creation of an employer-driven system that would be able to respond flexibly to ever-changing needs on the labour market, while protecting the rights of migrant workers. However this reform not only has had a negative impact on waiting times and bureaucracy, but it has led to an increase of low-skilled labour migrants in fields where there is already a surplus of labour. Furthermore, it has curtailed the role of the state, that no longer is called to identify, recruit and relocate attractive labour to Sweden, and it has led to an increase of abuse of labour conditions. This paper by Lisa Pelling aims to investigate the main features of this reform and draw some recommendations for the future for the EU as a whole.

Read the report



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