Stockholm Cityhall: Step by step guide for bringing your new hire to Sweden

Image courtesy of visitstockholm.com / Photographer Henrik Trygg

Your company needs to bring in foreign talent to fill a skills gap. Management has approved of the hire, and talent has been found. This part of the process is usually not the difficult piece since Sweden is a highly regarded work destination for many workers.

So what do you do next?

Preparation: Discuss the Relocation Budget

Once your organization has determined that relocating personnel is necessary to achieve your business objectives, the first hurdle will be deciding what the relocation budget will include. It's likely that cost will be the main topic of conversation between yourself and company leaders, as well as between yourself and talent who may be responsible for some costs personally. Reporting and budgeting is essential when setting up shop in a new country. Staying in legal compliance and not taking risks where the talent can suffer goes without saying.

Global relocation companies usually suggest purchasing bundled services that include all of the necessary assistance your new hire will need so they, and you feel supported and can concentrate on getting the job done rather than immigration and moving headaches. Depending on the talent's age and family size, a 3-7 day program is normal for a move. Working with local relocation consultants will give you access to their experience and expertise in Swedish 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, compliance, insurances, house finding and tips on relocating household and office goods. The volume of details and things you don’t know you don’t know can be overwhelming so professional assistance is helpful for all involved.

Who Needs to Apply for a Work Visa?

If your new transfer falls into any of the following categories they will not need to apply for a work permit and the process will be much more straightforward:

  • have a permanent residence permit already
  • have a residence permit to attend a college or university, they may work a little bit on the side. You need to really know at what level they are studying and that they are getting enough credit each school term to be part of the benefit.
  • have a special residence permit to work as a visiting researcher
  • are an asylum seeker and have an AT-UND (exemption from the obligation to hold a work permit)
  • are a citizen of an EU country.

That said, members of some occupations and countries are subject to special regulations for working in Sweden, while certain occupations get a more lenient pass. Doing a Visa exploration before you hire someone is an insurance that you can keep this important talent in your company.

If your new hire will need a work permit and more hand-holding through the relocation process, ask your new hire for the following documents:

Step 1 Ask for Necessary Documents:

  • Passport Copy (for all family members) - scanned. Show all 4 corners. Smartphone photos often don’t have the quality needed and this will cause delay.
  • Permits in Other Countries (for all family members) - If there is a valid residence permit in a country other than home country, provide the country and the time period. Note that the new hire will need to provide exact dates for each country and time of validity,
  • Permits in Sweden (for all family members) - If they have had a permit in Sweden, please provide a scanned copy of the decision letter from the Migration Agency.
  • Schengen Visits (for all family members) - State all visits including the countries and time periods during the past 12 months. (The Schengen Agreement is a treaty that led to the creation of an area in which internal border checks have largely been abolished. The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.)

New Hire: Required Documents:

  • Resume / CV - With all relevant dates. Please ensure the resume is updated to include all start and end dates
  • Home Address - Current home address including the postal code (zip code).
  • Marital status - single, married or cohabiting - proof of marriage or cohabitation

New Hire’s Spouse: Required Documents:

  • Marriage Certificate (If married) - If the original language is not in Swedish or English, please include a certified translation.
  • Proof of Cohabitation (If not married) - Provide evidence proving that new hire and partner have been living together for at least 6 consecutive months. Credible evidence includes a copy of a joint lease, evidence of joint bank account, bills addressed to each person individually - but to the same address. If the original language is not in Swedish or English, please include a certified translation.

New Hire’s Children: Required Documents:

  • Power of Attorney - Please note that both parents or legal guardians must sign the power of attorney.
  • Birth Certificate - If the original language is not in Swedish or English, please include a certified translation.

Things to note:

  • All documents must be submitted in English or Swedish. Documents submitted in other languages will slow down the process as it requires translators.
  • Submit the work permit application online. If the work permit application is submitted online, the Migration Agency will begin processing it soon after it has been filed. There may be delays if it is submitted through an embassy or consulate general because it is sent to the Migration Agency in Sweden and you add a second layer of case officers.
  • You will receive a faster decision if all required documents are sent in together with the application, rather than adding documents to the application later. If you submit the work permit application with only some of the required documents, the application will be deemed incomplete and it can turn into a very long-winded affair.
  • Nationals that require visas to travel to Sweden need to apply for their biometric residence card with their home embassy after the work permit has been approved but before they arrive in Sweden. This is a blessing in disguise since the biometrics appointments are difficult to get within a reasonable time period upon arrival.
  • Nationals not requiring a Visa may enter and complete the biometric residence card process in Sweden. Do set up the appointment as soon as the application has been handed in, with some margin for travel.

Step 2 Acquire a Residence Permit Card (RPC):

Residence Permit Card is a requirement for non-Europeans. It is proof that your new hire is permitted to live in Sweden. Encourage your employees to complete the RPC procedure in their home country even when they are allowed to enter Sweden without the card in hand.

Step 3 Acquire a Personal Number:

Only after having received a RPC card is it possible to schedule an appointment to go to the Tax Authority to register locally. This is where you encounter the next bottleneck — it is hard to get appointments at the Tax Authority for local registrations, and the turnaround time for the Swedish Personal Number can also take weeks.

Step 4 Acquire a National ID Card:

A national ID card is necessary to open a full-service bank account. It also requires an appointment to be booked and payment to be made from the employee’s country of origin, that is a foreign bank account. This has a varying degree of difficulty depending on which country your new hire comes from.

Step 5 Find Them a Place to Live:

Many companies provide their employees with relocation services to help them get over all the hurdles when moving to a new country. This is actually a win-win. The employee gets professional help, and the company saves on internal resources while outsourcing the risk of not being compliant.

The housing market is limited and fast action is required. Landlords expect a fast decision, corporate leases, and upfront rental payments plus typically a month’s deposit.

Step 6 Open a Bank Account:

Banks are finding themselves being more and more regulated and we see that they are less and less likely to be customer oriented as the legislation is expecting them to know a lot more about their customers.

To begin paying your new recruit, consider using REVOLUT or provide a local credit card where the salary payment can be deposited. Companies that have a good relationship with their own bank should lean on them to assist their employees. It’s not uncommon to negotiate better rates for mortgages, car loans, and free credit cards.

Step 7 Open a Utility Account:

A majority of utility companies require a Swedish Personal Number and a credit history of several months to set up services. Electricity and tenant's insurance can be set up without a PIN but usually needs more than a name and address.

Ask the landlord to keep the utility accounts in his/her name at least in the interim period or when it isn’t possible to take on the utility accounts as a company until all administrative details are done. For internet service, many companies provide a wireless USB for their employees.

Step 8 Get Necessary Insurances:

For non-EU talent, there are stringent rules in regards to the employment terms. There are four mandatory insurances that need to be in place and when it is time to renew the work permit, proof is requested that these insurances have been set up in a timely fashion (from the first few days of starting to work). Many companies have in recent years been the victims of losing foreign talent not only due to the internal lack of procedure but also by delays at Swedish Government Agencies and insurance companies.

If you would like more information on the logistics for Immigration to Sweden, you will love our Immigration Guide for Bringing New Hires to Sweden.

You can also download the Work Permit Required Documents Checklist outlined above.

We hope this information can help you see the big picture of what it takes to bring a foreign hire to work in Sweden. There is a lot involved; however, knowing all the steps ahead of time can save your company time and money as well as make the new hire’s move pleasant for all involved.