SULF has long pushed for legislative changes regarding residence permits for researchers. Below, we list ten of the biggest problems regarding conditions for doctoral students and researchers that we believe need to be solved. Some aspects may require government investigations, while others could to be dealt with more quickly.
SULF would be happy to place our knowledge, skills and experience at the government’s disposal and would welcome the opportunity to take part in any aspect of the process, from the drafting of directives to participation in detailed investigations.
1. The financial support requirement for permanent residence permits must be abolished or modified for doctoral students and researchers. We have put forward a concrete proposal regarding amendments to the Aliens Ordinance as a first step to remedy the biggest problems quickly.
2. People who have residence permits to look for work after they have completed their studies or research must be allowed to apply for a residence permit for doctoral studies or research without first having to leave Sweden. Otherwise, there is a huge risk that talented people will leave Sweden and we will lose vital competence.
3. Children who are born in Sweden and whose parents have a residence permit for research (or are accompanying such a person) must be able to apply for a residence permit for the child without having to leave Sweden to do so.
4. People must be permitted to accept an overseas posting by a Swedish university when they have received funding for an international postdoc from a research council. Under the current rules, the person in question faces the risk of deportation on the grounds that they will be working abroad for part of the time.
5. The rules must be changed so that it is possible for a time-limited residence permit for work/research/doctoral studies to be withdrawn and replaced with a permanent residence permit. The current rules mean that people have to wait for their existing permit to expire before they can apply for a permanent one. This means that in practice an employment contract needs to be longer than 18 months for a permanent residence permit to be granted.
6. People who have applied for an extended residence permit for research or studies must be allowed to leave Sweden temporarily while they are waiting for a decision on their case by the Migration Agency. Otherwise, academic careers are in danger of stalling.
7. Clarification is required regarding what rules apply for certain family members of EEA citizens. In some cases, they may end up in a catch 22 situation where they cannot apply for a residence permit in accordance with Chapter 5b of the Aliens Act, and at the same time they do not have a right of residence through their family member. The Migration Court in Luleå came to exactly that conclusion in its ruling on case UM 1015-22, where the court criticised how the EU directive, (The Student and Researcher Directive, (EU) 2016/801), has been implemented into Swedish law.
8. The Swedish Migration Agency must be compelled to reduce its processing times for cases concerning doctoral candidates and researchers, and it must be given greater resources to be able to do so if it needs them. Today, the Migration Agency does not meet the processing times stipulated in the Aliens Ordinance.
9. Do not introduce a special qualifying period for the right to receive social benefits for people who come to Sweden to work, conduct research or participate in a doctoral programme. If Sweden is to be an attractive country for skilled labour, such people must not need to wait longer than the rest of us to be eligible for the benefits they contribute to.
10. Solve the issues raised by new requirements regarding the showing of passports. These problems make it difficult for Sweden to attract students and researchers.