Better accommodation opportunities for international students

Yesterday, Thursday, November 24, the Swedish Government decided on a change in the law that will give Swedish universities better possibilities to provide accommodation for international students and researchers. The aim is to strengthen the universities' ability to recruit students and researchers, where access to accommodation is a clear advantage. For Halmstad University this is a positive change, though it will take time to improve the overall housing situation for international students.

”This is a good decision that in the long run gives us better opportunities to offer accommodation to international students and researchers.”

Rikard Ahlgren, Property Manager

Large brick building in the foreground and a skyscraper in the background.

Through the Government's decision, all public universities will be able to rent a number of residences and then sublet them to international students and researchers. Until now this has only been allowed for exchange students and visiting researchers, while other groups of students and researchers have been referred to the general housing market. The prerequisite for being allowed to sublet housing is that there is shortage of housing in the area and that it is necessary to be able to sublet accommodation to ensure the University’s internationalisation or mobility of researchers.

Need for collaboration with more property owners

“This is a good decision that in the long run gives us better opportunities to offer accommodation to international students and researchers, but with the housing shortage in Halmstad, it is difficult to improve the situation short term. We need to collaborate with several of Halmstad's property owners to solve our needs both in the short and long term. We also need help from Halmstad Municipality to create the necessary conditions, for example that the property owners get to build more housing suitable for students in central Halmstad and around the University campus”, says Property Manager Rikard Ahlgren.

Since autumn 2022, Halmstad University has been subletting the former nursing home Patrikshill from Halmstad Municipality as accommodation for around 100 exchange students. In the same way, the University will in the future be able to rent residences and sublet to international students and researchers. The challenge, though, is to find more residences to rent and sublet, at a cost level that international students can handle.

For a long time Halmstad University has, as other universities, brought forward the importance of changing the regulations on this matter to the government: Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Anders Nelson is now happy that the Government listened and made the change:

Internationalisation important topic

“Many of the societal challenges in connection to the University's research and education are global and can only be solved through international cooperation. In this context, Sweden is a small country, dependent on attracting international competence that can contribute to high-quality research and for the University's students to receive the best possible international training.”

Text: Selma Sedelius
Photo: Ida Fridvall