The labor shortage in Sweden is noticeable and many Swedish companies have found themselves searching for talent in India, China, Russia, Macedonia and other Eastern countries. In recent years companies have become skilled at identifying and validating candidates from different parts of the world using today’s tech tools like Skype calls with webcams and remote skills testing to reduce the need to travel for interviews. But recruiting overseas usually requires that work permits are approved before arrival in Sweden, which can be an ongoing challenge.
The importance of ensuring timely work permits
We have seen great candidates lost during the administrative portion of the recruitment process because they receive offers from other companies that enable their talent to get to work faster. Given that most people need a salary as soon as possible when they are in the recruitment process, every week if not day will pose a threat to your success in finalizing the contract and locking down a start date.
Well-established companies that have a collective agreement with a union in place have some advantages. A lot ot companies aren’t unionized while from an immigration perspective they may as well be. The Swedish Migration Agency is here to ensure that foreign workers get decent terms on par with the rest of the industry they operate in. It is a good idea to glean some insights on what is needed.
There are some key components to consider to ensure a timely work permit approval in Sweden. It can take quite a bit of time to prepare for an application but with planning, some tasks can be completed before your candidate has even been identified.
Work permit checklist
If you follow the checklist below you will have made the necessary preparations for a successful work permit application.
- 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. It does put a strain on some company's administrative system for salary payments and also creates some extra provisions. Setting up international insurance coverage for the employee without a Personal Number is considerably more complex and 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 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 5-7 working days.
The NIM.MERSION immigration team offers a webinar series for HR managers so you can learn step by step what the best practises are for each step in the immigration process and ensure timely start dates for your next foreign worker recruits.
Looking for ways to help your expat settle in? Read 5 Tips for Expat Success in Sweden