Do you want to work in Sweden?
If you are a EU/EEA citizen you don’t need a work-permit to work in Sweden. Here is some information about living and working in Sweden.
Living and Working in Sweden
Short films about: labour market in Sweden, right of residence and residence permit, how to look for a job, how to apply for a job, about working, taxes and social security
Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union and has a population of about 10.3 million. Therefore, Sweden is far less densely populated than many other European countries. You will find more information about the Swedish labor market and living conditions on the EURES portal.
The capital, Stockholm, is the largest city with a population of 2 million. Gothenburg and Malmö are two other major metropolitan centers.
Sweden is still officially a monarchy though the royal family today basically has a ceremonial role. Sweden is a multi-cultural and ethnically diverse society. As a small country, Sweden is very proud of the Swedish entertainers, athletes and companies that have gained international fame. For many people abroad, Sweden is synonymous with names like IKEA, ABBA, ABB, SKF, Volvo, Scania, Electrolux, Autoliv, Spotify, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Ingmar Bergman. Just to mention a few things.
As one of the Nordic countries in the EU, Sweden enjoys big variations in both temperature and daylight from season to season. The summers are temperate with sunsets after 10 pm in the South and no sunset at all in the very North. Winter brings lots of snow in the middle and North of the country.
To read more about Sweden and the Swedish culture, please visit sweden.se.
Learning the language
If you wish to live and work in Sweden, learning the language is very important. You will find it difficult to get a job without at least basic knowledge of Swedish; most jobs require fluency. There are some exceptions such as in higher technical professions or other sectors where highly skilled competence is required. Then, English is often the working language.
You can learn Swedish online. The Swedish Institute offers courses on different levels.
- Learningswedish.se is a web course for Swedish up to level A2 offered free of charge.
- Learning Swedish PLUS is a course with teacher support, which is available at a fee – see learningswedish.se for more information.
If you have been offered a position in Sweden you can apply for a reimbursement of the fee for the teacher-supported course.
Once you have become a resident in Sweden and have been issued a personal identity number (personnummer) you can contact your local municipality for information about Swedish lessons for immigrants.
Registration, residence and work permits
Nordic citizens do not need any permit or registration to live and work in Sweden. As an EU/EEA citizen you have the right to work in Sweden without a work and residence permit.
If you want to work in Sweden and come from a country that is not a part of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you must have work and residence permits. You also need a residence permit to start or run your own business or become a part owner of a company. If you have had a residence permit for at least five years in an EU member state but are not an EU citizen, you may be able to obtain the status of long-term resident in that country.
Long-term residents have certain rights which are similar to those of EU citizens. If you intend to reside in Sweden, you shall register at the local Tax Office. This process is called folkbokföring.
In order to work in Sweden, you must have a work permit. The main rule is that you should apply for and have been granted a work permit before entering Sweden. When applying online you are given clear instructions about how to fill in your application and what you should send with the application. This makes it easier for you to apply correctly and increases your chances of a quick decision.
Salaries and employment contracts
Unlike many other countries, Sweden has no minimum wage law. Instead, wages are set by collective bargaining agreements between employers and unions. Therefore, labour unions can be a good source of information on salary levels in Sweden. Statistics on average salaries in Sweden by profession are available on Statistics Sweden’s website:
A job in Sweden can be either a permanent or temporary position. Most permanent positions are preceded by a trial period of three to six months during which the employer can fire an employee at will. Once a position is permanent, certain conditions must be met before an employer is allowed to fire an employee.
In accordance with EU law, Swedish employers must provide the employee with a written contract within 30 days if he or she requests one. The EURES network encourages all employees to request a written contract from their employer.
Sweden is well-known for prioritizing quality of life in its labour laws. For example, parents of children up to a certain age have the right to work part-time, a right of which many Swedes take advantage of. Parents who miss work in order to take care of a sick child (up to a certain age) can also receive compensation for lost income.
All workers in Sweden receive at least five weeks of paid vacation per year. Sweden also has generous laws for parental leave for new parents.
If you work for more than six months in Sweden, normal Swedish income tax regulations apply. You will pay municipal tax, which varies depending on which municipality you live in. Whether you are required to also pay state tax depends on your income.
This is in addition to the municipal tax for people with a high income.
Your employer will deduct your income tax from your salary.
If you live abroad and work in Sweden for less than six months you can choose to pay a special income tax (SINK) which can be profitable in that case, however, you cannot obtain tax relief for any expenses.
You can find out more about the Swedish tax system on the tax agency's website:
Swedish social insurance is financed mainly through employers’ contributions, with only a small proportion being covered by individual contributions. The social insurance is administered by Försäkringskassan and you will find more detailed information about it at
The social insurance covers various benefits related to sickness, disability, having children and retirement. It is possible to take out extra insurance through insurance companies – this is sometimes offered by your trade union. Some employers also provide extra insurance coverage as a staff benefit.
If you have to stay home from work because of illness, you receive no wages or sick pay the first day.
As part of the publicly funded social insurance, you only have to pay a moderate set fee when visiting a doctor or physiotherapist within the national health scheme.
Dental care is free for children up to a certain age. After that you have to pay part or the entire cost yourself.
The rules for parental leave in Sweden and the financial benefits paid during parental leave are very generous in comparison with most countries. For more information about parental leave and the amount of benefits paid, please visit he Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s website at
Unemployment insurance in Sweden is not part of the social insurance administered by Försäkringskassan. Unemployment insurance is publicly funded to a great extent.
There is a basic unemployment insurance providing low level benefit to those who meet the criteria.
In order to receive an income-based benefit if you become unemployed, you need to join a voluntary unemployment insurance fund. Which fund you choose often depends on your profession, although there is one fund where membership is open to all professions and another which is open to anyone in a graduate profession. In order to receive benefits you must meet certain criteria.
For both the basic unemployment benefit and the income-based benefit, work in another EU/EEA-country can be taken into account under certain circumstances to help qualify for benefits.
Child care and education
The norm in Sweden is that both parents work. Therefore, publicly subsidised affordable childcare is very important to Swedes. Most childcare centres are run by the municipality, but there are also private day care centres and parent co-operatives, though most of these also receive government subsidies.
In Sweden, all children are required to start school in August of the year that they turn six years. However, the majority of children choose to start school a year earlier and go a voluntary kindergarten program.
School attendance is compulsory up to the end of the ninth grade. After that the pupils go on to upper secondary school (gymnasium), where they can choose different programs with an academic or vocational profile.
There are several international schools in Sweden which teach in English. Most of these are found in large cities such as Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.
University studies are free for residents of Sweden and EU/EEA citizens.
In Sweden, you can either buy or rent a house or an apartment. Buying can be in the form of ordinary ownership, typical for houses or by becoming a member of a housing cooperative, which is standard for apartments and common with semi-detached houses.
In the rental market, you will find both private and municipal landlords. Rental apartments are more common than houses though those can also be found. Most rentals are unfurnished.
Whether you buy or rent accommodation, you will find a cooker, fridge and freezer in place.
Heating and hot water are generally included in the rent, other services such as electricity, broadband etcetera may or may not be included.
Finding a job
You can start your job search here, on Sweden's largest and most visited employment website.
In addition to job ads in Platsbanken we also offer useful advice and tools to help you find work.
On our website we have a large selection of webinars on various work related topics. Some of them are in English for jobseekers from other countries.
In Sweden, job applications usually consist of a CV and a cover letter. The cover letter should not be longer than one page while the CV can be somewhat longer, depending on how much education and experience you have. Both of these should be in Swedish unless otherwise specified. In general, you do not need to send your diplomas or other documents with your application. If an employer wants to see them, he or she will ask you to bring them to an interview.
Many job ads in Sweden include telephone numbers you can call if you have any questions about the position. Visiting a workplace in person to apply for a job is not as common in Sweden as in many other countries. However, it can be a good method within service professions such as retail, hotel and restaurants. It is common for jobseekers within all professions to send their CV and cover letter to companies they are interested in working for, even if they do not currently have any vacancies advertised. This kind of spontaneous application should also be written in Swedish.
Regulated professions and your qualifications in Sweden
A regulated profession is one that requires some kind of license or registration in order to work in that field. If a profession is not regulated, you are allowed to work within it without formal recognition from any authority. Some of the regulated professions in Sweden are physicians, dentists, electricians, veterinarians, lawyers, psychologists and security guards. For a complete list of Sweden’s regulated professions and information about which authorities are responsible for issuing licenses to practice, please visit
Even if your profession is not regulated, you may want to have your foreign university studies formally recognized by the Swedish higher education authorities in order to simplify your job search or to continue your studies in Sweden (particularly if your studies were at a University outside of the EU). For more information on the recognition of foreign study programs in Sweden, please visit
The Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet) is the public agency responsible for the recognition of foreign qualifications.
Most of the jobs advertised in Sweden will assume that the applicant speaks good Swedish. However, within some highly qualified professions, there is a possibility to find work for applicants who are fluent in English, for example within large international companies where the corporate language is English.
Staffing agencies and recruiting companies can be a good way to find employment.
The EURES website www.eures.europa.eu is also a good source of information when looking for work in Sweden. Apart from job vacancies in Sweden, the site also has extensive information on many topics of interest for jobseekers from abroad interested in working to Sweden.
If you are already living in Sweden, you can register as a jobseeker at Arbetsförmedlingen - The Swedish Public Employment Service. Consult our website for more information.
More information about working in Sweden:
Targeted Mobility Scheme - Your first EURES job
The EU mobility scheme Targeted Mobility Scheme - Your first EURES job makes it easier to move, work and recruit in Europe. The mobility scheme aims to match skilled candidates across Europe with employers with hard to fill vacancies, including mobility services and various financial supports.
Jobseekers interested to take part must first contact a EURES Adviser or a Public Employment Officer to get mobility support services.