I'm picking up the thread here on May 24th. I wrote the initial draft of this article on February 21st, i.e., before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Things have most certainly changed since then and an updated version is what you see here. We'd like to share the global mobility trends we see this year. That way we can hopefully help our #TA, and #SwedishHR contacts plan and adjust.
Global mobility trends in the current year - 2022
Already early this year we saw increased mobility between companies. The war for talent is real and companies were bidding over one another to get skilled employees. Given that we do employment-based immigration we definitely saw firsthand how the same prospective employee showed up with several companies.
Redundancies provide opportunities to find talent already in Sweden
Now in late May 2022, many companies are reducing their workforces by 10% or more. As a result, talent Acquisition teams have opportunities to find new employees that are ready to start right away and without the relocation services being needed.
A word of caution, while there are many advantages to finding local skilled talent that has work permits, bank accounts, and housing already, there are still things you must check.
CHECKLIST when you hire foreign talent
- 1. It's the responsibility of HR/TAs to check the current permit's validity. It's not always so easy to see whether a person may change jobs without further action. In the first 24 months, the person is tied to the employer and role. However, in the second period, an employee may change employers but must stay in exactly the same role. Few talented people change employers without that being part of a career path, hence in most cases, you will need a new permit.
- Even when you hire someone already in Sweden, the role must be advertised. The Migration Agency in Sweden will announce new requirements on June 1st. You will need more documents than before, and you can expect the timelines to be longer.
- When you find a skilled worker already in Sweden, it’s good to know that many companies in Stockholm, Malmö, and Gothenburg sign housing leaseson behalf of their employees. Not necessarily because they want to, but because they have to. If you hire a person that is already here, you may need to assume some of the responsibilities and services that the candidate has already rendered by the current employer. It's all about benchmarking and employer branding, We see that companies that offer comprehensive relocation packages are preferred by the prospects.
- Savvy prospects will ask whether your company is on the certified list at the Migration Agency for faster applications. They have likely already heard of long timelines and not being able to travel during the renewal. In June, we will see a new VISA. It will actually allow travel while the Migration Agency is processing the application. This is welcome news, many have missed weddings, funerals, and important family gatherings not least during the pandemic.
Difficulties with Swedish immigration
We have seen an increase in the technical difficulties at a variety of government agencies this year along with being understaffed. Timelines are getting increasingly longer, and the Swedish Personal Numbers still take a very long time.
Banking is increasingly difficult in Sweden
Any company that can lean on its banks should do so to get bank accounts for its new employees. In the old days, the banks offered free credit cards, favorable mortgages, and stellar services to their corporate client's employees. Some corporates make sure their banks live up to the service level that they want their co-workers to experience when they move to Sweden.
UK companies don't have representation in Sweden, EORs provide solutions
The flurry around Brexit is almost forgotten. All UK residents that qualified for residency with an easy application are now settled, while UK companies are now aware of the visa requirements. However, it seems that we have had many more UK nationals working in Sweden than we knew. Many employees don't have a local company that is their natural employer and contractors have had to find other solutions.
While payroll has been a concept for many years, EOR, Employer on the record, and PEOs, Professional Employment Organizations are suddenly something that we work with daily. Mostly for UK nationals and construction work although some start-ups need to go that route while solidifying finances and having a first positive Annual report. This middleman will assume all employment responsibilities and the approach is for most companies something that is an investment in the future. Often, we see that the local Swedish EOR/PEO firms are helpful in setting up a local branch office. We often also see that eventually employees are moved over to their own entity. It's of course, a more costly model, but it does allow operations that would otherwise not be possible.
Timelines at the Swedish Migration Agency are getting longer
The Fast track option that Nimmersion was the first company to be elected to receive around 10 years ago has been a blessing to our clients. To represent companies, they must also go through qualifications to benefit from this possibility. We have seen that it's harder to get qualified, the time it takes to get approved has doubled since last year and the guidelines for what is needed to apply are tighter. Yet, most of our clients still get the chance to both apply and most often get approval.
Another global mobility trend in 2022 is the housing shortage
For some time during the pandemic, it was a little bit easier to find housing, however, when the wheels started turning, they did so very quickly, and we are back to a very tight housing market. Supply is limited, a great deal of movement within the EU has caused a limited supply in many locations and our partners around Europe are also struggling. The shortage has put the landlords in the driver's seat, and they choose tenants and request corporate leases. We have very little negotiation room in this situation, so home findings are as hard in 2022 as in 1995. A sad state of affairs.
Real estate prices were on the rise at the beginning of the year, increasing by 15% in January while increased interest rates are cooling things off a little.
We can't talk about global mobility trends without considering the displacement of many refugees in Europe. Many of these have moved to Sweden. Many of them have connections and friends and family here. Large numbers of them have moved in with people they know already. Banks and authorities have done their best to accommodate a big group that came in a short amount of time. The welcoming and accommodation of Ukrainian women and children has been successful and is still in the works. Of course, the children are welcome in the schools and in kindergarten. This means it will be harder to find pre-K places when many young children move at once. Sweden did that well in 2015/2016 and we get positive reports that it works.
The Swedish mobility trends are clear:
- Talent shortage continues and more movement between companies occurs.
- Immigration changes to the law and processes are ongoing, information is shared late, and changes are required retroactively which causes delays and additional administration.
- It's harder to get certified for the fast track at the Swedish Migration Agency
- Brexit has amounted to new service companies being used to get UK nationals to Sweden quickly.
- Housing is still scarce and there is a need for corporate leases.
- The tax authority and civic registration are very slow. You need Swedish personal identity numbers for most things, where it's possible we have workarounds.
- Banks are struggling with money laundering laws and as a consequence, they are difficult to get a working relationship with. It takes a very long time to be able to open a bank account.
- The Swedish NATO application seems to comfort expats that it is safe to live in Sweden.
Want to know more about the current global mobility trends?
Here at Nimmersion we're always keeping a close eye on the global mobility trends and analyzing them for your benefit. Perhaps you would like to know more about the current trends and what we're predicting for the future? If so, you are more than welcome to contact us with any questions that you might have. We will get back to you as soon as possible.