The Swedish government is proposing to extend the post-study work rights of graduates from Swedish universities, with leaders suggesting students should be allowed to remain in the country for up to one year to seek employment. International graduates are currently given six months to find work.
Among proposals aiming to attract more students, researchers and highly qualified people to Sweden, students will be granted a residence permit for at least a year.
If the legislation is approved, the proposals will come into effect on January 1, 2020.
“The government’s proposal strengthens Sweden’s attractiveness and competitive power for highly educated and sought-after foreign citizens who can contribute with their knowledge,” Matilda Ernkrans, the country’s minister for higher education and research, said in a statement.
“The proposals are, therefore, an important part of the work to improve Swedish companies’ access to talent.”
Students and researchers who have residence permits issued by other EU states will also be permitted to stay in Sweden using the document under the proposed bill.
“Research is international in its nature. The new rules are therefore intended to make it easier for researchers and students who want to work in several EU member states,” Ernkrans added.
According to the director-general of the Swedish Institute, there are no reasons the bill will not pass through parliament.
“In Sweden, there’s a broad political consensus when it comes to attracting international talents,” Madeleine Sjöstedt, director-general of the Swedish Institute said.
The Swedish Institute recommended a 12 month period for work post-graduation, she said, adding “six months is way too short – in Germany, for example, international students are allowed to stay up till 18 months”.
“[Post-study work] increases our ability to attract international students and enables them to establish themselves at the job market in Sweden,” Sjöstedt told The PIE News.
“If students and scholars decide to stay and work here, it’ll mean a lot to Sweden as a country, and to us having access to learnings and experiences from other countries.
“This is enriching to us all.”
Klas Andersson, an international HR coordinator at Chalmers University of Technology noted that a main benefit of the new legislation is the proposed changes that aim to increased mobility for students and researchers within the EU.
“We can, for instance, foresee that master students from countries outside of the EU/EEA will have more possibilities to make exchange studies within the EU,” Andersson explained.
The possibility to issue two-year residence permits for bachelor’s and master’s students and the extension of the period of time to search for a job will boost the possibility to attract and retain competence, he noted.
The legislation also suggests internships of up to 18 months within higher education, and it is expected to make it easier for universities to arrange internships thanks to less bureaucracy.
“Anything that can make Sweden more attractive for international talent is a good thing,” head of student recruitment at Uppsala University Joachim Ekström told The PIE.
“Our education attracts so many talented individuals from all over the world.
“The way I view it is that if they spend a couple of years in Sweden, getting quality education and have a professional network in their home country, it would be silly to not make it easier for them to stay and contribute to innovation and research in Sweden.”
Post-study work opportunities are hugely attractive to international students the world over, with the UK recently announcing that work rights are soon to be reintroduced for international students for two years post-graduation.