New rules as regards labour immigration

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At the beginning of November, Parliament decided on new rules as regards labour immigration. The objective of these new rules is, according to the Government, to make it easier for companies to recruit new staff. Mobility across national borders is positive for the improvement of matching job seekers and the job vacancies in the labour market. It is, however, incorrectly maintained that today this is not possible.

In today’s system, the Employment Office searches in their data bases after job seekers who might be suitable for a certain job. The Government now proposes a new method which delegates to individual employers to decide whether labour is available within the country and EU (which has preference to vacant jobs).

The details of the proposed bill have prevailed in the discussions but the fact that this also entails a reform of the system has been omitted.

- The new model implies that the employer unilaterally settles the definition of shortage of labour. It is apparent that the individual employer himself is the one to have best knowledge when new employment is under discussion, but it is rather unlikely that a single employer has a general view of Sweden’s and EU’s needs of labour, Monika Arvidsson, LO expert, says.

The risk of subjective judgements is that appointments are made according to lowest wage level instead of best competence. In order to counteract this risk, the Government maintains that wages and other working conditions are not to fall below the collective agreements applicable to the rest of the workforce in Sweden.

- But it is hard to believe that the Government really wants to back this statement, Monika Arvidsson says, as the new law places the instruments of making the choice with the employers. And, concurrently, the shortages as regards the employees’ security are neglected.

LO has, on several occasions, maintained that it would be reasonable to introduce work contracts which are legally binding. Today an employment offer may be submitted to the authority, which is issuing the permission, while a totally different offer is applicable in practice.

LO is of the opinion that employers abusing the vulnerable situation of migrant workers ought to be fined.

- The legislator has the responsibility to show loyalty to employees and employers who keep within the boundaries of the law, which most of them do. It is those who are not serious who are worrying us, Monika Arvidsson says, and accentuates that it is remarkable that the Government does not opt for reinforcing the rights of migrant workers but instead opts for increasing the scope of freedom for those who want to abuse the system and compete on unfair terms.