Hiring foreign workers in Sweden has become a strategic advantage for many local employers.
As the demand for a diverse workforce is on the rise, reaching the global talent pool is a great way to solve staff shortages and bring fresh talent to the table.
However, for employers, successfully integrating foreigners into the Swedish workforce requires compliance with immigration laws.
In this blog post, we will explore the key considerations and best practices for hiring foreign workers in Sweden.
Understanding these essentials will set you on the path to a more dynamic workplace that benefits your business.
5 Steps to Hiring Foreign Workers in Sweden
When hiring foreign workers in Sweden, it is crucial to approach the procedure with diligence.
From testing the labor market to applying for a work permit, there are many legal aspects you need to consider.
Follow the steps below for a smooth and effective hiring process.
Step 1: Ensure You Meet the Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers in Sweden
Before engaging in international hiring, make sure you are able to satisfy Swedish employment regulations.
These requirements include:
- Your employment terms must align with current industry or professional regulations.
- You must be able to provide your future worker with adequate insurance. The insurance must cover health, life, occupational injury, and pension.
- The salary you provide must be in accordance with the rates considered acceptable for the specific profession or industry.
- The salary you provide must be at least 13,000 SEK (around 1,130 EUR) per month before taxes.
Step 2: Ensure You Comply with the Rules for Specific Professionals
If you plan on hiring certain categories of professionals, you must ensure you comply with specific rules.
These rules fall under two categories:
- Special rules regarding performers, au pairs, berry pickers, seasonal workers, athletes, trainers, researchers, and trainees. More information on the rules for these categories of professionals can be found here.
- Rules regarding certain industries that are subject to more rigorous control. For these industries, you must prove your ability to pay the employee’s salary. These industries include cleaning, construction, trade, hotels and restaurants, automobile repair, agriculture and forestry, staffing, service, and personal assistance. You can find more details about these industries here.
Step 3: Conduct a Labor Market Test
A labor market test is necessary to ensure that no EU workers are available to fill the position.
To test the market, you must advertise the position in Sweden, EU, EEA, and Switzerland for at least 10 days.
You should conduct the advertising process through the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) job bank. This ensures visibility in the EU job bank EURES.
You can also promote the job posting on other job banks, provided that the advertisement remains accessible in the EU.
Step 4: Sign an Employment Contract
If no local workers are available to fill the role, you may proceed with international recruitment.
Once you’ve found the perfect match, you may provide your prospective employee with a work contract.
The contract must include the following information, pursuant to the Employment Protection Act:
- Employee and employer’s full name and address
- Job description and title
- Details about the workplace
- Type of employment (e.g., permanent, temporary, or probationary)
- Start date (ideally, the contract should state that the employment starts from the day the employee receives the work permit. If the work permit processing is delayed, the Swedish Migration Agency may need to require a new start date, potentially extending the processing time).
- Notice period or length of the contract
- Working hours
- Compensation, terms for extra hours, and other benefits
- Times(s) of the month when the salary is to be paid
- Vacation days and whether the employee can benefit from paid or unpaid leave of absence
- Relevant collective agreement – if applicable
Step 5: Apply for a Work Permit
For most non-EU workers, you will need to apply for a work permit.
If you’re offering employment for more than 3 months, your workers don’t need to submit a separate application for a visa. In this case, a work and residence permit serves the same purpose as a work visa.
However, for seasonal work up to 90 days, workers must apply for a Schengen Visa in addition to the work permit application. You can find more information on the Schengen Visa application process here.
Both you and your employee must complete the work permit application.
You can do this online by submitting it directly to the Swedish Migration Agency. You can also complete the application on paper, but this involves longer processing times.
To complete the work permit application, follow the steps below.
1. Log in to the Swedish Migration Agency
Start by logging in to the Swedish Migration Agency using e-legitimation.
At this stage of the application process, you will need to provide information about the employment.
This includes information about the company, role, and prospective employees.
You will also need to provide the Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations (SSYK) code (according to SSYK2012) for the relevant profession or occupation.
If you’re unable to provide the information via e-service, you have the option to fill out the Information about the Employment form no. 232511.
2. Send the Employment Information to the Relevant Trade Union
Next, you must send the employment information to the trade union that is relevant to the activity the employee will carry out.
You can submit the information online through the e-service platform. This allows for more efficient tracking of the case.
3. Attach the Required Documents
At this stage of the process of hiring foreign workers in Sweden, you must attach the required documents.
Depending on your industry, these documents may include:
- Trade union statement
- Balance sheets and income statements
- Reports for the previous financial year
- Documents showing liquid assets, etc.
4. Your Employee Completes Their Part of the Application
After you attach the required documents, your future employee will receive an email notification. In the email, they will be invited to fill out their part of the application.
The email contains all the required steps that the applicant must follow to complete the application.
To assist workers with the process, we have created a short guide that includes relevant information. The guide also includes information about the application fee and processing times.
You can access the guide by clicking on this link.
After your employee completes their part of the application, the Swedish Migration Agency will process it. Following their decision on the application, the agency will send you a notification by mail.
Your employee will receive the final decision from the relevant Swedish diplomatic mission.
If the decision is positive, you will need to notify the Swedish Tax Agency. To do so, you must fill out the Notification – Employment of a Foreigner SKV 1160.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Sweden: Final Considerations
Employing foreign workers in Sweden can be challenging, especially if you’re new to international hiring. There are many labor regulations and tax practices you need to consider. You also need to make sure that no local workers are available to fill the role.
However, you don’t have to let red tape and complex legal procedures stop you from hiring foreign workers in Sweden.
Hopefully, this guide can help you figure out how to employ foreign nationals while remaining in compliance with local labor laws.
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