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Sweden

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area - 450,295 km2

Population – 10,302,984 9 (2019)

Official Language – Swedish

REGISTRATION AND RESIDENCE PERMITS

EU/EEA citizens who are workers, business owners or students or have sufficient funds to support themselves have the right to reside in Sweden. Students and persons with sufficient funds must also have comprehensive health insurance. The right of residence does not have to be established by means of an investigation, but arises automatically where EU/EEA citizens satisfy one of the above requirements under the Law on aliens (utlänningslagen).

The term ‘right of residence’ under national law covers the right of EU/EEA citizens and their family members to reside in Sweden for more than three months without a residence permit.

Nordic citizens are free to settle in Sweden. They do not need a residence permit.

People who are citizens from outside the EU/EEA must have a residence permit to stay in Sweden for more than 3 months.However, if the person has a right of residence as a family member of an EU/EEA citizen, the person does not need a residence permit.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen and you remain in Sweden for six months or more and are in work, you must submit an application to the Swedish Tax Agency in respect of income tax deducted at source. The Swedish Tax Agency allocates a coordination number in connection with your being registered for tax.

If you intend to stay and work in Sweden for at least one year, you may apply to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) for registration in the Population Register. If the application is granted, you will be given a personal ID number. Your personal ID number/coordination number will be needed in many different contexts in your contact with various authorities.

More information on the right of residence in Sweden can be found on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website, see "Legal guidance" and on the Migration Board’s website.There is more information on coordination numbers and social security numbers on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website.

Text last edited on: 06/2019

LOOKING FOR A JOB

People looking for work in Sweden are expected to be proactive to a considerable extent. This is most commonly done by looking for job adverts on the Internet.

There are many different websites and apps that publish job adverts. The Swedish Public Employment Service’s job bank ‘Platsbanken’ is one example. Vacancies throughout the country and in other countries are advertised there. It is possible to search by location and by profession. More often than not employers’ details are given, so it is possible to contact them directly. The advertisements are usually in Swedish, which means that most employers assume that those of you who apply have some knowledge of Swedish.You do not need to be registered as a job seeker to look for vacancies in Platsbanken. Vacant positions in Platsbanken are also copied across to the EURES portal.

General information and support can be provided by Customer Services at the Swedish Public Employment Service by telephone: +46 (0)771 416 416.

Another tip is to look for jobs on recruitment sites such as Monster, Blocket, Metro, Jobbsafari, etc.

Making your CV visible to employers is another way of looking for work. By logging into arbetsformedlingen.se and other recruitment sites, many employers who are looking for new employees can search for you. The EURES portal also offers the option of displaying your CV by using the Europass CV template and thus allowing employers across Europe to search for you.

Another route towards a job is to contact private staffing and recruitment companies, such as those that specialise in the industry or profession in which you are looking for a job. Some of these companies can be found via the Kompetensföretagen (Competence Agencies of Sweden)’s website.

It is a good idea to use social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn when looking for work.

Many jobs are never advertised externally. Taking the initiative to contact an employer for whom you would like to work is common and is usually seen in a positive light. Lists of companies in various sectors can be found in databases such as ‘Företagsfakta’ (company facts).

Newspapers and local newspapers contain many job listings. These adverts can also be accessed via the internet.

INCOME AND TAXATION

The average salary for all occupations in 2017 was SEK 33,700/month.Wages are generally higher in the private sector compared to the public sector.

Women earn on average 89% of what men earn, i.e. there is a difference in earnings of 11%. Part of this difference is due to women and men working in different occupations, working in different parts of the labour market or having different qualifications and working hours.

The Swedish tax system consists of a number of direct and indirect taxes and charges. The most important direct taxes are state- and municipal income tax. The most important indirect taxes are VAT and excise duties on certain products, such as alcohol and tobacco. Almost all goods and services are subject to VAT, and the rate of VAT is normally 25% of the price.

VAT on food is 12%.

Income below SEK 19,760 (2019) per year is non-taxable.

The majority of the income tax paid by natural persons goes to the municipalities. If your taxable income exceeds SEK 490 700/year (2019), you pay national income tax at 20% on the amount in excess of this. You pay national income tax at 25% on income that exceeds SEK 689,300 (2019) per year.

The municipal income tax is proportional, and is between 29% and 34%.The vast majority pay only municipal taxes, which include county council tax. Social insurance contributions are paid by the employer via employers’ contributions. There are therefore no additional deductions from wages.

Income tax is also paid on unemployment benefits, sick pay, pensions and similar sources of income.

Both natural and legal persons are obliged to file an income tax return with ‘Skatteverket’ each year, usually around 2 May.

Your income minus basic deductions and deductions for various costs makes up your taxable income.

If you live abroad and stay in Sweden for less than 6 months, you must pay a special income tax, called SINK, which is 25%.SINK is a definitive withholding tax on employment income, and you therefore do not need to submit income tax returns for such income. Contact ‘Skatteverket’ (Swedish Tax Agency) for more details.

There is more information on taxes in Sweden at www.skatteverket.se

Text last edited on: 06/2019

COST OF LIVING

The cost of living for a person living alone, excluding housing costs, is around SEK 10,210 per month in 2019, according to calculations made by Swedbank. These costs relate to necessary basic consumption of food, clothing, hygiene, healthcare, sports, cars, leisure activities, local travel, insurance, electricity, telephone, etc. They do not include costs of holidays, spectacles or of new purchases such as curtains, computers or televisions. The corresponding costs for a couple are SEK 15,908 per month.

Text last edited on: 06/2019

EDUCATION SYSTEM

Swedish schooling consists of ten years’ compulsory primary schooling, which starts at the age of 6 with the preschool class. This is followed by an optional three years at upper secondary school. Most pupils from primary and lower secondary school carry on to upper secondary school. There are university-preparation programmes and vocational programmes.

Compulsory primary and lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools are usually operated by municipalities, but are subject to national curricula and government supervision. There are also a number of independent schools that are also funded from the public purse.

International schools

There are a number of international schools that offer tuition in languages other than Swedish. . International schools are run in accordance with the curriculum of another country or an international curriculum. There are also schools that teach through the medium of English but follow the Swedish curriculum. For more information, please contact ‘Skolverket’ (the Swedish National Agency for Education).

Higher education

Applicants to university or college are normally required to have completed upper secondary school education in Sweden or abroad. Certain prior knowledge in one or more subject areas is almost always required.

Most universities in Sweden are operated by the State. There are universities and colleges in more than twenty locations around the country. It costs nothing for EU/EEA citizens and citizens of Switzerland to study at Swedish universities and colleges, apart from a small registration fee.You have to borrow or buy course books yourself. Many students receive state student grants and take out state student loans in order to support themselves during their studies. This student financial support is administered by the Swedish Board for Study Support (CSN).

Adult education

Adult education is arranged by Sweden’s municipalities. Through adult education you can study Swedish for immigrants (SFI), courses equivalent to lower secondary and upper secondary school, study for upper secondary examinations, and complete qualifications that entitle you to further study. It is also possible to undertake vocational training.The teaching is free of charge, but a fee for teaching materials may be payable.

‘Folkhögskolor’ (folk high schools)

A specifically Scandinavian form of adult education is the ‘folkhögskola’ (folk high school), which is often run as a boarding school. The schools are owned by county councils or by non-profit organisations such as trade unions, churches and temperance societies. They set their own curricula and can offer a wide range of theoretical courses, artistic subjects, international affairs and environmental protection.

RECOGNITION OF DIPLOMAS AND QUALIFICATIONS

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

  • An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
  • The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

USEFUL LINKS

http://www.sweden.gov.se - Government of Sweden

http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se - Employment Service

http://www.skatteverket.se - Taxation

http://www.forsakringskassan.se - Social Security

http://english.uk-ambetet.se/, http://www.skolverket.se/ - Education

http://www.uhr.se/ - Swedish Council for Higher Education (Recognition of Qualifications)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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