Sweden at a Glance
Working in Sweden
- Sweden has a strong and growing economy.
- A written offer of employment is vital for gaining a work permit.
- The public sector is the largest employer in Sweden.
- The job market is competitive but there are sectors in need of more workers and the government has made it easier for foreign nationals to work in them.
- The business culture in Sweden could be very different to what you are used to with many coffee breaks and a tendency to have a lot of meetings before a decision is made.
Working in Sweden presents plenty of opportunities to expats from all around the world. While the high taxes may come as somewhat of a shock for many expats, the system permits brilliant healthcare services, a very good education system, and an excellent quality of life.
A Model Economy
Expats working in Sweden will benefit from high-tech capitalism mixed with a system of extensive welfare benefits. The country itself has a labor force of about 5 million employees. Despite the recession of 2008, Sweden has a strong economy with excellent internal and external communications. Sweden experienced a mild economic slowdown in 2012 and introduced various stimulus measures to boost growth and the availability of jobs. Sweden’s GDP has been forecast in 2015 to grow at a relatively rapid rate of between 2% and 2.8% until 2019. The Swedish economic model has also been applauded by international organizations such as the EU Commission and is expected to grow over the next few years as the government uses increased investment and taxation to improve the economy.
As an expatriate working in Sweden, you may be employed by a private company. Private companies account for the majority of the country’s economic output. The engineering sector is particularly strong and is responsible for approximately 50% of Sweden’s exports. The country’s main industries are in iron and steel, precision equipment, as well as motor vehicles. If you are interested in working in Sweden and have sufficient qualifications, you may be able to find work in these fields
The Work Permit
If you dream of working in Sweden, the first thing you need to do is to secure a work permit. This is necessary for all non-EU/EEA citizens to work legally in Sweden. Expats working in Sweden for more than three months must apply for an additional work and residence permit.
Your best bet is to submit your application by using the online form on the Swedish Migration Board’s website. An alternative would be to direct your application to the nearest Swedish consulate or embassy before your move. Once you have turned in your application, you are not allowed to enter the country until your permit has been processed.
Written Offer of Employment
Before you can successfully apply for a work permit and begin working in Sweden, you require a written job offer from your Swedish employer. Only with a written job offer can you successfully apply for a Swedish work permit. The document should include information on your position within the company, on your salary and the duration of your work contract. Before you receive your written offer of employment, the responsible trade union has to approve the terms and conditions stipulated in your work contract.
EU/EEA-Citizens and Registration
EU/EEA-citizens do not need to obtain a residence permit or work permit prior to their move. They are in fact free to start working in Sweden and travel around the country immediately. However, they still have to contact the Swedish Migration Board and register their residency.
You have to register within three months of your arrival in person at one of the offices of the Swedish Migration Board or by submitting your paperwork online. Remember to include a certificate of employment in your documents. For more information on visa matters, written offers of employment and the registration process, please refer to our article on Moving to Sweden.
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