Policies for circular migration Policies for circular migration and temporary labour migration schemes (2014)

This Ad Hoc Query concerns circular migration and temporary labour migration schemes (2014).


Ad-Hoc Query on policies for circular migration and temporary labour migration schemes (pdf, 555 kB)



The previous Swedish Government has proposed a range of legislative changes aiming at encouraging circular migration and promoting positive impacts of migration on development. Among the proposed measures are

  • a permanent resident permit shall only be revoked when a migrant stays outside Sweden for 2 years or more
  • labour migrants with a temporary residence permit shall be allowed to spend certain periods of time outside Sweden and still be able to qualify for a permanent residence permit after a number of years
  • persons with a temporary residence permit for doctoral studies shall be able to apply for a permanent residence permit after seven years, even in cases where they have spent certain periods outside Sweden.

To assess these proposals in a European context the Swedish Migration Board would like to know whether other (Member) States have similar or other policies facilitating circular migration and/or repeated temporary stays for labour migrants.

The responses received

Replies were received from 21 EMN NCP. Only the reply from Austria could not be given a wider circulation.

Descriptions of rules and regulations that to a certain extent allow circular migration were received from 8 countries (France (FR), Lithuania (LT), Poland (PL), Slovenia (SL), Sweden (SE), United Kingdom (UK) og Norway (NO)). UK has a similar regulation as the one proposed for Sweden in that a permanent residence permit may be withdrawn when the person has stayed outside the country for 2 years or more. PL og SL have regulations that only make circular migration possible for selected (neighbouring) countries: respectively six and one. In LT the regulations apply to highly qualified workers, and FR did not provide any details. The reply from NO states that the schemes are limited, but do not provide any relevant details. Many replies include information about other measures to make the regulations flexible without providing for circular migration.

Four countries (Bulgaria (BU), Hungary (HU), the Netherlands (NL) and Slovakia (SK)) told that they in 2011 or later introduced regulations that give temporary residence permits to third country labour migrants. In NL this applies to highly qualified employee in selected activities.


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