Assignment: Facilitate the retention of foreign researchers

A newly appointed public inquiry is to develop measures to make attracting and retaining foreign doctoral students and researchers in Sweden easier.

The assignment, which was presented at a press conference at the Government Offices on Monday, aims to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness as a research and innovation nation, a press release says.

Of those who began doctoral studies in Sweden in 2022, 42% were foreign citizens, and in the field of natural sciences, this proportion was as high as 63%. At the same time, statistics show that a large proportion of doctoral students leave the country after completing their studies, a fact that critics link to migration law regulations.

Among other things, it has been pointed out that the Migration Agency has required an employment of at least 18 months from the time of assessment to fulfil the income requirement for a permanent residence permit. This has posed problems as researchers often have fixed-term employment.

The investigator – Mattias Pleiner, judge at the Court of Appeal Svea Hovrätt – will now review the migration law regulations and produce proposals to improve the conditions for foreign doctoral students and researchers to work and reside in Sweden.

However, the inquiry has another assignment as well. In accordance with the Tidö Agreement, work has begun to stop the abuse of residence permits for studies, which, according to the press release, is “strongly indicated”.

Therefore, the investigator will also review the residence permit regulations for studies to counteract the abuse of study permits. The assignment is to be reported no later than 9 December 2024.

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