Relocating a new hire from a foreign country to Sweden is vastly different from hiring someone locally. It will require a unique onboarding policy, financial plan,project timeline, and legal compliance considerations, among other things. Communicating your needs to upper management and the team can be challenging as there are many unknowns that no one has thought about or would even think to consider. That said, if you can address the global relocation needs of your new hire effectively, you will dramatically increase their success rate.
Here are some points to consider and pass on to top decision makers involved with the project.
Communication Compliance Considerations Are a Top Priority
You will need to be concerned with compliance. We see when companies forego compliance to quickly get people on the ground in different locations, disaster often ensues. It doesn't make sense to take this risk. In many countries it's dangerous to work on a tourist or business visa, and if caught oversights can render harsh consequences for the individual as well as HR, and even jeopardize your company’s reputation. Our advice is to do it right the first time, rather than having to worry about damage control.
Work Authorizations Take Extra Time and Manpower
Working with local relocation consultants will give you access to their experience and expertise in Swedish relocation as well as immigration law. This guidance can help design the conversations you'll need to have with involved leadership when briefing on issues like permits, visas, taxation and compliance.
If you follow the checklist below you will be on your way to make the necessary preparations for a successful work permit application; however, with every relocation there could be individual circumstances that are smart to discuss with experts to avoid costly delays. Here is what is involved:
- The position must be announced on Eures, a website powered by the employment agency to allow anyone within the European Union to apply for the job before it’s offered to someone outside the EU.
- Talk to your insurance provider or bank about the mandatory insurances. In order to be considered for a work permit the employer must commit to setting up four insurances; life, occupational injury, pension and loss of income insurance. Make sure not to confuse sick insurance with health insurance — they cover different things and have been a common cause for evictions during 2016 and 2017.
- Once you have put together an offer letter, it’s time to make sure that the salary level is acceptable to the union. The offer should undergo a labor market test.
- Check the applicant’s passport expiration date so you can get an appropriate length of time for the permit. If the passport expires sooner than the intended stay you can consider whether it’s best to renew the passport before the application goes in, or whether a shorter term is acceptable and a renewal is made while the employee is already in Sweden. Don’t forget that you need to have a permit for at least 365 days in order to qualify for social security and receive a Swedish Personal Number. Without it, you will put a strain on the company's administrative system for salary payments and it also creates some extra provisions. Setting up international insurance coverage for the employee without a Personal Number is considerably more complex and much more expensive. That being said, renewing a passport can take a lot of time in many countries so do consider that before you make a decision.
- If you want to work with an immigration expert firm then a due diligence review of your company will be required before you can apply to be activated on a fast track. This guarantees faster turn around for the application to be processed by the Migration Agency. Currently, an application outside the fast track takes 4-6 months while the fast track can be expected to take 10-15 working days.
Factor in Extra Time For Global Relocations
Plan ahead. If possible a timing plan of 6 months in advance is ideal. You will most likely need to work around bottlenecks in Swedish government agencies, school availability, and homefinding. The earlier you plan, the less likely you will need to compromise on these very important issues. If possible, have a recruitment schedule and rotating plan of employees so your project doesn’t suffer if the new hire starts later than expected.
There are Important Things to Know About the Swedish Rental Market
Finding housing in a foreign country is no small chore, especially in Stockholm where housing is extremely limited. There are many unique hoops to jump through in Stockholm if you want to secure housing for your new hire. Here are some good resources for finding a home in Stockholm.
- 7 Reasons Why Your Employee Can’t Find a Place to Live in Sweden
- A Practical Guide to The Swedish Rental Market
- How to Retain Expat Staff With a Simple Signature
From learning how local rental contracts are developed to understanding areas of cities and typical housing costs, you'll need to spend adequate time helping both management and the relocating personnel understand what to expect and what steps will need to be taken before your new hire relocates. Supporting early trips by the candidate to choose an area to live can ensure that a house is ready for his arrival and belongings. Some research can be provided online before the move here is a sample of one of our neighborhoods briefs this one shows Kungsholmen on YouTube.
It's good for local HR and RMCs to have a clear understanding of the timelines that are expected by landlords and to live up to them or the long line of prospective renters behind them will snatch the property very quickly. From the day of viewing properties to making the decision very little time should pass if your expat wants to secure it. The company legal team needs to act quickly to sign the lease landlords prefer corporate leases) and make the deposit payment.
Something else that no one ever really considers is the day-to-day lifestyle needs when it comes to housing choices. Remember to think about this when recommending areas for your new hire to live in. Where will your team members live versus where they work? How will they get around? Will they be able to drive? Where do they get groceries? These are all things that need to be known ahead of time so that proper housing and school decisions can be made. All of this may also influence salary considerations.
School Research & Applications Should be Completed Before Spring
Many expats bring their families with them overseas, and that means finding appropriate schools for children. As an HR professional, you may be called to be a liaison between the candidate and upper management in drawing out relocation timelines that don’t negatively impact schooling, as well as supporting local housing allowances so the candidate can live near desirable schools.
Here is a resource for learning more about how to help your new transfer learn about finding the right Swedish schools for their children.
Have Budget Flexibility In Case of Unforeseen Circumstances
Reporting and budgeting is essential when setting up shop in a new country. Also staying compliant and not taking risks where the talent can suffer goes without saying. In order to keep the momentum up and also keep management at home interested, find a way for planned reporting and use a structure that makes it interesting for the recipient. If your schedule is tight, plan to have flexibility and spend more $ to get the job done right. We have seen many examples where rushed moves have been costly. It ranges from having to pay tuition at the most expensive school while the project had expected local schools. The good deals on the rental market finish, first so being a latecomer can be very expensive and rents high. A few years back a rushed move had a rental cost in Copenhagen of over 150 000 SEK (approx 15 000 Euros) per month largely due to the time of year.
Missing out on the peak season for housing leaves the least desirable, or the most expensive properties. We have seen, as a result of a rushed move, an expat family having to stay in temporary housing for months until the market starts moving again. Obviously for key personnel the high costs are part of the program, yet poor planning can have that spill over to a greater group and can cause a project's financial plans be turned on its head.
Foreign New Hire Require More TLC From Human Resources & Managers
Expats love moving to Sweden. It is an amazing country to live in for many reasons: women’s rights, tech opportunities, childcare, healthcare and much more. That said, making friends and getting used to Swedish office culture can be very tough for the expat and their spouse. Your foreign new hire will need more support than a local candidate. It is important to have the funds and support to assist your new hire in acquiring the cultural readiness skills to succeed, getting over language barriers, learning how Swedes work together in an office environment.
If you are planning on sending employees to Sweden, you can learn loads of useful information from ourGuide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden.