There was considerable disagreement at the Skellefteå city council meeting about the new law, effective from November 1, on the salary threshold for non-EU migrant workers applying for work permits. The government has decided to raise the salary threshold for those applying for a work permit from 13,000 kronor to 27,360 kronor.
– Many people with a foreign background work in the social sector. Most of them have residence permits, but there are also people with work permits, often with significantly lower salaries than what will be required for a new work permit, says Linnea Öhman (MP), who has tabled a query on the issue.
The chairwoman of the personnel committee, Evelina Fahlesson (S), is trying to clarify how many people in the municipality will be affected:
– A preliminary estimate was made of 200 people, but now that we have looked into it more closely, it is probably around 130. There are nursing assistants, nurses' aides, people who work in the preschool, cleaning and food services. The problem is that when we lose someone, it is difficult to find a replacement.
The Moderates challenged this assessment.
– We are talking about 15,000 people in the country. One-third are in the green industry, one-third are in restaurants, and one-third are quite scattered. So how many are in health care, education and community care? Well, there's 600 people in the whole country. I think we are discussing the wrong numbers, says Nils Vesterberg.
But this view was not shared by all.
– On November 1, the municipality was dealt a blow. Skellefteå is in a difficult situation. We are talking about 140 employees in the social services department alone, a significant number of whom are threatened with deportation in the midst of a staffing crisis, says Iosif Karambotis (S), chairman of the social committee.
– This is directly detrimental to welfare and to Skellefteå. While the rest of Europe is trying to attract workers, we are doing the opposite. It is a stupid law, says Carina Sundbom (C).