international students in limbo over residence permits

Under the country’s law, the Swedish Migration Agency can only issue a student with a residence permit if more than 50% of their course is conducted on campus, according to a report by

“The government would need to step in and give new directions to the Migration Agency so that no students fall between the cracks”

However, uncertainty remains as to how campuses will be organised in the coming academic year, and institutions have warned they may need to continue teaching remotely

“The government would need to step in and give new directions to the Migration Agency so that no students fall between the cracks,” Patrik Höstmad, acting deputy principal of undergraduate courses at Chalmers University told Swedish public radio, SR

While the Swedish Migration Agency has said that a residence permit can only be granted if 50% of a course is conducted on campus, it expects studies to be held at universities by spring.

“This means that if you study a full academic year, you only need to have a small part of the teaching on campus during the autumn semester in order to be able to receive a permit for the entire time,” a statement on the Migration Agency’s website reads.  

The Migration Agency said that if by autumn, it appears that campuses won’t be able to open in spring, then the Agency’s assessment may change. 

For those students who are currently in Sweden at universities where courses are being taught primarily remotely and who need to extend their residence permits, the Migration Agency has recommended that they “wait as long as possible to apply for an extension”.

“However, you must do so before your previous permit expires.

“This will allow the Swedish Migration Agency to wait for the possibility that circumstances change and your studies will instead be conducted on campus,” the statement continues. 

Despite issues with Covid-19, Sweden has remained a popular destination for international students.

In May, The PIE News reported that international students seeking to study degree courses in Sweden have increased on the previous year’s figures.

“It’s been a very positive year for Swedish universities,” explained Washburn.

“We’ve seen a 12% increase in the number of international degree students admitted to Sweden compared to last year,” said  Swedish Institute and Study in Sweden marketing manager, Douglas Washburn. 

“For students who are attracted by progressive values associated with Sweden such as sustainability and equality and those who are attracted by a safe and modern country, it’s hard to find a better place to study than Sweden,” he added.

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