Working in Sweden

Work and residence permit

Danes working in Sweden

To get more special information on Danes working in Sweden visit www.oresunddirekt.com. This website provides official information from the Danish and Swedish authorities in the Øresund region, it opened the same date as the Øresund Bridge, July 1, 2000, and will be continually extended and developed.

The purpose of Øresunddirekt is to assist Danish citizens in understanding Swedish society and its laws - and conversely, helping Swedes to understand Danish society and its legislation. The site is meant as a tool for increasing integration in the region so that individuals and companies do not perceive the authorities as barriers preventing them from moving, working, studying or starting a company on the other side of the Øresund.

Other citizens

A residence permit is required if you are a citizen of the EU and wish to stay in Sweden for more than three months. This regulation does not apply to citizens of Finland or Denmark. You should file your application for a residence permit at the responsible offices of the immigration authority (Statens invandrarverk) as soon as possible after you have entered the country.

A residence permit is required if you are a citizen of the EU and wish to stay in Sweden for more than three months. This regulation does not apply to citizens of Finland or Denmark. You should file your application for a residence permit at the responsible offices of the immigration authority (Statens invandrarverk) as soon as possible after you have entered the country.

A filled in application form and your passport or personal identity card are required. As an employee, you will also need to produce a certificate of your employer or a certificate of employment.

If you wish to settle down as freelancer or supplier of certain services, your authorisation to do so needs to be proved by a registration certificate of the Swedish patent and registration office, by membership in a professional organisation, by a tax identification number or by registration in the commercial registry.

You do not have to give information about your financial situation. The residence permit is granted for a maximum of five years and usually depends on the duration of your employment. You can always apply for a renewal unless you are a student or have involuntarily been unemployed for more than twelve months.

If you take your family with you, the same conditions for immigration apply as for yourself. In addition to the usual application documents, however, certificates stating your relation to your family (certificate of marriage, birth certificate) are required. The residence permits of the members of your family have the same duration as yours.

As a non-EU-citizen you will need an entry visa that depends on your country of origin. Its duration is limited to the duration of your visit and can last for up to three months. If you want to pick up work in Sweden you need a proof of employment when you enter the country.

Then, you will receive a residence permit limited to the duration of your employment. Further information about visa regulations and residence permits can be found at the Swedish embassies of your home country or the country of your permanent residence.

In general, you have the same possibilities of searching for jobs in Sweden as in Denmark. Make use of the advantages the internet provides and search for the right jobs in Sweden using the StepStone detailed search. If you speak Swedish it is best to visit the Swedish site, which contains current joboffers of companies of all sizes and branches in Sweden.

Obviously you can send your CV directly to any company you want to work for as well or apply for job listings published in the Swedish press. However, the state-run employment agencies play the most significant role in the recruitment market. The local employment agencies (Arbetsförmedlingen) provide services, information and consultancy to job seekers and employers.

This is where you can also obtain the magazines "Platsjournalen" and "Nytt jobb" that contain job opportunities. The agencies' consultants are responsible for certain business sectors, e.g. culture and media, health, technology and IT, economics and finance etc. You do not need to register in order to use the information service of the Arbetsförmedlingen. In addition, you can use the agencies' computer terminals for finding job listings and vacancies.

Recognition of education certificates

Certain professions are regulated within the EU. If you wish to exercise one of these professions in other member states, your education certificates (BA, MA, PhD, LL.M etc.) and other supplying documents have to be recognised. This regulation applies to e.g. solicitors, auditors, physiotherapists and other health related professions.

Working conditions in Sweden

Social security

If you work in Sweden, you are subject to compulsory social insurance as soon as your employment starts. You have to register personally with the local insurance office and present your salary and your place of work. The national insurance maintains 25 central offices and approximately 400 local offices, you find their contact details in the phone book (Almänna Försäkringskassa).

The obligation to be insured applies to every person above the age of 16, to employees as well as to freelancers. Sweden's social insurance is financed by taxes and mandatory contributions to which employers pay the largest amount. Your contributions include the claim to health insurance (this covers among others sickness benefits and partial payments for pharmaceuticals), pensions (from the age of 65), disability insurance, partial payments for education (e.g. in case of further training), housing benefits and special benefits for families with children or for handicapped persons.

If you have questions about the unemployment insurance, you should contact the trade union of your work place or the local employment agency.

Labour market and labour law

4.3 m persons are employed in Sweden. This is equivalent to more than 49% of the population and almost 80% of all inhabitants between 16 and 64. The quota of women among the working population was 48% in 1997. The current unemployment rate is at 5.4 per cent.

The trade unions can look back on a long tradition, and they still have a strong influence. Approximately 88 per cent of all workers are unionised, and the biggest labour organisation is the Swedish Federation of Trade Unions LO that has 2.18m members, a number equivalent to almost 85% of all employed men and women. TCO, the union of industrial workers has 1.23 m members which resembles 70 per cent of all employees and civil servants.

As a matter of fact, the good co-operation between employers and trade unions has provided workers with quite a number of favourable rights:

  • Dismissal protection: Employees under the age of 25 have a notice period of one month, thereafter it's extended successively to reach up to six months for employees above 45 years of age.
  • Probation period: Six months in general.
  • Work Environment Act: 40 hours guaranteed weekly working time, special safety officers control health and safety protection of the work place.
  • Equal Rights Act: The same wages for the same work, equal job opportunities, equal opportunities and chances for all employees in connection with promotion, hiring, training and education.
  • Right of co-determination on branch and group level.

Costs of living

Salaries and wages

The average wage of a blue-collar worker was 17,100 SEK [1,868 EUR] per month in 1999, the salary of a white-collar employee was 23,300 SEK [2,545 EUR].

Housing

People in Sweden spend most of their income for housing purposes, an average amount of 31 per cent. All flats are relatively new (almost 75% were built after 1940) and are furnished to meet modern standards: running water, central heating, bathroom and fitted kitchen. 46% of all households live in their own houses or semi detached houses. 22 per cent own a summer cottage.

Households with a low income are entitled to housing benefits from the state. These programs give special support to families with children, single parents, and couples living in cohabitation.

Public transport

The transport network is particularly dense in the bigger cities and in the more populated south. A monthly ticket for one province costs between 200 and 450 SEK.

Private car

A Volvo car continues to be an all time favourite for almost all Swedes, followed by Saab, Ford and Volkswagen. However, you will need to fork out about 1,700 SEK monthly expenses for a new middle class car.

Food

The average person spends 1,300 SEK per month for food and beverages in Sweden. Compared to other European countries, the "daily bread" is more expensive only in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark.

Child benefits

Child benefits are granted for children under the age of 16. The state pays 850 SEK per first and second child, for more than three children this sum increases (three: altogether 2,777; four: 4,307, five: 6,007 and six: 7,707 SEK per month). Child benefits are not taxable.

Childcare

The local authorities' supply of childcare services strongly increased due to the fact that more and more women have entered the labour market. More than 60 per cent of all parents use day-care-centres and municipal daily care services. Only 2 per cent of all families organise their childcare privately or use au pair girls.

Taxes

Sweden's employees are faced with a heavy tax burden. The starting rate is 8,700 SEK, in addition almost all services of the social security, unemployment money and pensions are taxable. Of an annual income exceeding 254,800 SEK, the state collects 20 per cent income tax and the municipality another 31 per cent. Not yet included is the contribution to the pension fund amounting to approximately 7 per cent. Altogether, the total tax load amounts to 60 per cent for all employed persons.