With the exception of the tourist industry, most European businesses have long summer breaks. Sweden and the Nordic countries take large portions of July off, while other European companies tend to choose August for their extended vacations. In general though, productivity slows down from the end June through most of August throughout Europe. How do these summer shutdowns affect your talent transfers?
The Impact of Europe's Summer Shutdowns
This is an important fact to consider when planning a spring or summer move for your transfer. Because of the many shutdowns and individual vacations, getting things accomplished in the usual, timely manner is virtually impossible. It’s funny how we all know this yet, yet we are surprised every year when processes get held back by vacations and authorities with limited opening hours.
It is easier to understand when you consider how many people and companies are connected to one person’s cross-border transfer. There are several agencies, companies and individuals involved in each transfer aside from the home and host company as well as the relocation company. These include: immigration authorities, tax agencies, health care providers, banks, insurance companies, landlords, letting agents and lawyers. Each one of these professionals play their own role and seldom operate in a vacuum. All are dependent upon one another to get the task done.
Here are our tips for staying on top of a summer relocation so it runs smoothly and on time.
There will most certainly be delays during June-August. It might take some time to arrange the necessary documentation as well as receive the company and individual responses that might be required. Many people involved in the process will be on holiday (some even without Out of Office email notices or a back up — yes it is true). Therefore, having a significant amount of advance notice during each step of the process is essential. Let your transfer know this in advance.
Confirm Necessary Documentation is on Hand
This might seem obvious to many, however, this includes all documentation and records necessary for relocation. Passports with acceptable expiration dates, school records and immunization records for children, any professional documentation needed, financial records, marriage licenses and more should be gathered, prepared and checked off the list. Review this with your transfer at the start of the process.
Some things to remember:
- All documents submitted must be in English or Swedish. Documents submitted in other languages aren’t always even accepted by authorities and if they are it will slow down the process considerably.
- Ensure that their passport has at least 6 months remaining to travel on for Europeans and ideally 24 months for non-EU nationals so they can get the maximum duration if they are here to stay for 2 years or more.
- If they are not married to their partner they must submit proof of living together. This can be an issue of its own for many nationalities given that cohabitation may be happening unofficially. However, the Swedish authorities are strict on getting proof of the validity of an established relationship. This is good to sort out from the start as more than one transferee has gotten married prior to the move to Sweden in order to stay together.
Try to Stick to Agreed Upon Procedures & Timelines
Mistakes and delays tend to occur when a link in the chain of normal procedures is broken. This cannot always be avoided but is something to consider. Advise your transfer of the schedule and importance of sticking to dates that are agreed upon for each step in the relocation process. Let your transfer know that they need to be on call to answer questions throughout the process. If they are to be on vacation it’s always helpful to be able to reach them in case of an emergency like getting more detailed information in relation to a Work visa application or a better copy of a document.
Explain Sweden’s Homefinding Process
Home finding takes time, and often there is not much time due to the lack of available homes and high demand for housing in Sweden. Review with your transfer the process in advance. Let them know the order of events that need to take place during this process so they can feel as calm and organized as possible. Help your expat list out their top priorities for a home and advise that they will have to act fast once they find something that is acceptable due to high demand for housing in Sweden. Also discuss their budget and show them homes within their price range so they know what to expect. Typically the home finding is like the so called “ketchup effect”, you turn the bottle upside down and nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing ha…. OOPS it all happens at once. 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 and make the deposit payment.
Planning a home finding in the summer months takes considerable time so expect it to be really down to the last minute for confirmation of viewings. It often involves long chains of replacements and standby neighbors/relatives in order to make it possible. Once the decision is made, leases may have to travel to vacation homes for signature which additionally slows down the closure of a successful home finding. As an HR you can prepare by making sure the key people have Power of Attorney to sign the lease regardless of whom is in the office when it’s needed.
Once their home in Sweden is secured, here are more tips on how to help your transferee with their move to Sweden.
Helping new hires become contented and happy expats is the goal that we strive for each and every day. From our years of experience, we know that explaining the slower pace of summer is a task worth doing in order to help your new hire experience a smooth and satisfying relocation.
If you’re planning to bring foreign talent to Sweden, navigating an unfamiliar culture and immigration process can slow you down. Thankfully, Nimmersion’s Immigration Guide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden is here to help. Let’s get your new talent down to business!
If you would like a complimentary Swedish Immigration consultation with our Head Immigration Consultant, please click below to make an appointment.