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Sweden – COVID-19: Evolving Immigration/Travel Restrictions

Sweden – Evolving Immigration/Travel Restrictions

The Swedish government announced on 12 June that it is following the recommendations of the European Commission by extending the entry ban into Sweden for foreign nationals coming from a country outside the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA)/Switzerland until 30 June. Regarding the external border controls, the Commission recommends prolonging travel restrictions until 30 June. Meanwhile the Commission and EU member states should prepare a list of those third countries fulfilling certain criteria, so that these countries’ travel restrictions can be lifted from July.

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The Swedish government announced on 12 June that it is following the recommendations of the European Commission by extending the entry ban into Sweden for foreign nationals coming from a country outside the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA)/Switzerland until 30 June .1  The entry ban essentially applies to all foreign citizens travelling to Sweden from all countries except EU member states, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.  (For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-199 (27 April 2020).)

On 11 June, the European Commission released its new guidelines for EU member states with regards to the current restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU in light of the coronavirus crisis.2  Ultimately, the aim of the new recommendations is to gradually phase out the current travel restrictions.  The European Commission has proposed measures, which we describe below, for a coordinated phasing out of the travel restrictions.

WHY THIS MATTERS

The travel restrictions have had a considerable impact on travellers and employees moving between Sweden, the EU/EEA/Switzerland, and other countries.

The loosening of the rules that had limited cross-border travel and the restoration of some degree of international travel should be seen as encouraging signs for a gradual restoration of some freedom of movement and is welcome news for businesses and their employees who undertake cross-border travel for business purposes.  There is still a way to go, before freedom to travel returns to a pre-pandemic state, but these are hopeful signs for Sweden and the EU’s economies and for multinational organisations that are considering plans to bring/send foreign employees into/to Sweden as well as to send Swedish employees overseas. 

European Commission Recommendations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several member states imposed internal border controls and quarantine requirements for individuals arriving from abroad.  It is the recommendation from the Commission for all members states to lift internal border controls and quarantine requirements by 15 June.  (For related coverage, see the following issues of GMS Flash Alert: 2020-267 (4 June 2020) and 2020-227 (12 May 2020).)

Regarding the external border controls, the Commission recommends prolonging travel restrictions until 30 June.  Meanwhile the Commission and EU member states should prepare a list of those third countries fulfilling certain criteria, so that these countries’ travel restrictions can be lifted from July.

The Commission has also expressed a recommendation to lift the travel restrictions from the region of the Western Balkans from 1 July.  The countries included are:

  • Albania;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • Kosovo;
  • Montenegro;
  • North Macedonia;
  • Serbia.

KPMG NOTE

As of publication, there are no updates on how the Swedish government will implement the recommendation regarding the countries of the Western Balkans.  KPMG will continue to monitor the situation.

FOOTNOTES

1  See (in English) 12 June 2020 Ministry of Justice press release.

2  See 11 June 2020 European Commission press release

RELATED RECOURCE

This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Update Sweden – Immigration restrictions related to COVID-19” in KPMG TaxNews (15 June 2020), a publication of KPMG AB, a KPMG International member firm in Sweden.

* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Sweden.

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© 2020 KPMG AB, a Swedish limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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