If you go to work in Sweden you’ll enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world and a rewarding work-life balance…
Sweden could be the place for you to kick start your career with its range of international companies and reputation as a great location for start-up businesses.
If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU) then you can move to Sweden and start looking for work immediately, without the need of a work permit. Those from outside the EU will need to apply for a permit before they arrive in order to work in Sweden.
Workers in this Scandinavian country enjoy an open and accessible society with subsidised public services, not to mention an impressive amount of holiday entitlement.
Helping to break up the working day for its nation of coffee lovers is fika – a Swedish tradition which allows colleagues, friends or family to break or meet for a cuppa and a sticky bun. Well, when in Sweden…
Job market in Sweden
Sweden is recognised for its good working conditions and practices. It combines a capitalist economy with a strong public sector and welfare system. The job market is among the strongest in the world.
There is always a demand for skilled workers, especially in sectors such as:
- business services;
If you are a qualified and highly skilled worker, check out the Swedish Migration Board’s Sweden – Labour Shortage List.
There are several multinational companies based in Sweden, namely:
Teaching English as a foreign language is one of the most accessible jobs for native English speakers living abroad. You don’t need to be fluent in your host country’s language to do this, as it is preferable to create a strictly English-speaking classroom environment. To begin looking for English teaching roles in Sweden, go to British Council – English Language Teaching Centres in Sweden.
For jobs in Sweden, search:
Work experience and internships in Sweden
You can make speculative applications directly to individual companies and ask them about training opportunities. For contacts and resources, go to Business Sweden – The Swedish Trade and Invest Council.
Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:
- AIESEC UK – for students and recent graduates;
- IAESTE UK – for science, engineering and applied arts students.
Volunteering in Sweden
Voluntary work is a great way to build your skill-set and learn a new language. It will help to have some money saved before you set off, as the vast majority of voluntary positions are unpaid. Volunteer positions look great on your CV and give you the chance to network and build contacts.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS), funded by the European Commission, is a scheme aimed at people aged 17 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.
Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focuses on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.
Make sure you thoroughly research all volunteering opportunities and always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to a scheme.
On arriving in Sweden, you won’t need much knowledge of the language, as English is widely spoken. Swedish people are taught English from a very young age and subsequently much of the population speak it fluently. However, learning Swedish will improve your chances of finding a job and it will also help you to settle in. It is worth learning some before you go.
There are Swedish language courses in the UK and many good websites exist to help you learn a language or improve your skills. To test and then sharpen your skills, visit BBC Languages – Swedish.
Swedish visas and immigration
According to the European Commission, EU citizens have the right to:
- move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
- stay in the country even after employment has finished.
For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:
- European Commission – Free Movement EU Nationals
- Europa – Work-Related Rights
- Europa – Workers and Pensioners
As an EU national, you will adhere to the same rights and regulations as Swedish nationals. Non-European nationals must obtain a written offer of employment before they can apply for work and residential permits.