The Migration Agency’s latest report on migration and immigration shows that it has increased its focus on repatriation and stepped up its efforts to revoke permits. At the same time, however, the number of extended work permits has almost doubled.
During the past year, the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) issued a total of 102,000 residence permits, mainly for work, family ties and asylum. Over 68,000 new citizenships were also granted during the year.
In particular, there was a decrease in the number of protection applications, especially from Ukrainian citizens, which greatly influenced the relative overall decrease from 142,000 permits in the previous year.
– While there was a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers to other EU countries in 2023, we saw a continued decrease in Sweden, says Maria Mindhammar, Director General of the Swedish Migration Agency.
The report points to the agency’s “increased focus on efficiency”, with return as a key measure. The year 2023 saw a near doubling of revoked permits compared to the previous year, and the agency emphasizes the goal of shortening processing times while encouraging more people without the right to stay to return.
The labor market
In the labor market, the report shows a decrease in the number of granted first-time work permit applications, but also a significant increase in the number of extension applications. The number of work permit extensions is explained by an increased workforce and a better balance in extension decisions, with an emphasis on occupational groups such as berry pickers, planters and IT specialists.
– The fact that the number of extension decisions increased in 2023 is partly due to the fact that there were more employees working on this and could work down the balance of extensions, says Maria Mindhammar.
A visible trend in the report is the decrease in demand and granting of citizenship. The number of applications and granted citizenships decreased significantly compared to the previous year. Despite this, a marginal increase is seen in the number of residence permits granted for studies.
In summary, the report shows an overall change in the Migration Agency’s operations, with a decrease in the number of residence permits granted and an increased focus on efficiency and return work.
Statistics - Approval of first-time applications for residence permits
År 2023 2022
Family 25 110 20 990
Work 36 514 41 396
EU/EES 6 731 7 883
Protection* 16 810 56 622
Studies 15 825 14 537
Enforcement impediment 1 149 751
Total residence permits 102 139 142 179
Citizenships 68 168 89 967
*The 'Protection' figure includes, in addition to asylum seekers, 11,000 persons protected under the Mass Refugee Directive and 297 quota refugees selected under the UNHCR resettlement program. The corresponding figures in 2022 were 47 566 beneficiaries of protection under the Mass Refugee Directive and 3 744 quota refugees.