Labor Migration from Third Countries to Swedish Low-wage jobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since December 2008, Sweden has more liberal rules for labor immigration from ‘third countries’ – countries outside the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) – than any other country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The introduction of employer-driven labor immigration, motivated by the need to address labor shortages, resulted in large inflows of migrants in low-skilled occupations in labor surplus sectors. This article examines the situation of the approximately 500 restaurant and cleaning workers who were granted work permits in Stockholm in 2012. More than four out of ten labor migrants ‘switched track’ from asylum seekers, students, or family connection. Every second worker was recruited to companies without collective agreements. In several cases, a nationality/ethnic link between migrant and employer appears to exist. The reasons why so many low-skilled labor migrants in nonseasonal occupations were recruited are discussed. Finally, alternative explanations for the decline of this type of labor migration after 2011 are considered.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • labor migration, labour migration, third-country, OECD, EU, low-wage, low-skilled, work permit, resturant sector, cleaning, cock, food preparation assistant, vulnerability, exploitation, precarious, precarity, trade union, employer, collective agreement, sociology, sociologi, industrial relations, track change, spårbyte, arbetskraftsinvandring, arbetskraftsmigration, arbetskraftsmigrant, arbetstillstånd, kollektivavtal
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-85
Number of pages21
JournalNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 21
Publication categoryResearch

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Related research output

Anders Kjellberg & Olle Frödin, 2018, 7 p. Lund : Sociologiska institutionen, Lunds universitet.

Research output: Other contributionMiscellaneous

Anders Kjellberg & Olle Frödin, 2018, 7 p. Lund : Department of Sociology, Lund University.

Research output: Other contributionMiscellaneous

Olle Frödin & Anders Kjellberg, 2017 Mar 14, In : Arbetsmarknad & Arbetsliv. 23, 1, p. 84-102 19 p., 1.

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