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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Sweden, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Swedish market. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Use your own company

In general, to bring employees to work for a company in Sweden, they must apply for a work permit rather than a business visa, which only provides entry into Sweden for short term periods. The eligibility requirements for a work permit are:

  • The job must be advertised on the EURES portal for a minimum of 10 days.
  • An offer of employment must be made which sets out conditions which are, at a minimum, equivalent to those of the relevant Swedish collective agreement. This offer is initiated by the employer, and requires information about the prospective employee’s name, date of birth, citizenship, education and email address.
  • The employment opportunity must pay a minimum pre-tax salary as stipulated by Swedish collective agreement.

An employer can apply online for a work permit on behalf of the employee if they have all necessary information. Employers cannot apply in-person since the applicant must be present if they wish to apply in this way. The employer must be certified by the Migration Agency and have the power of attorney to apply on the applicant’s behalf, including copies of the pages in the employee’s passport which show personal information, period of validity and whether the person has permission to live in countries other than their country of origin.

The application process is as follows:

  • Issuance of offer of employment
  • Compilation of all necessary documents
  • Consideration by the Swedish Migration Agency
  • Notification to the Tax Agency if application is successful

1. An offer of employment is issued to the employee. This ensures that the Migration Agency is able to check the conditions of employment and payment are aligned with legal requirements. The employer must also issue a notice of employment to the relevant trade union, which will be returned by the union official upon approval. The employer needs to provide information about the applicant’s name, date of birth, citizenship, education and e-mail address, which will be used by the Migration Agency to communicate with the applicant.

Time: Depends on the trade union.

Fee: No cost.

2. The application is compiled and submitted. The relevant documentation is explained further below.

3. The Migration Agency will consider the application and inform of the outcome within 2-5 months, depending on whether all documentation is correctly submitted or if additional documentation is required.

Applications are required to submit the following documents:

  • Copies of the relevant passport pages which contain personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the passport’s period of validity and whether the individual has permission to live in countries other than their country of origin.

The employee is also able to bring their family as long as the aforementioned information is supplied, as well as:

  • Certificates of marriage for spouses
  • Birth certificates for children, and consent from the other custodial parent if they are not accompanying the applicant
  • Documents evidencing that the dependents have lived in the same country of origin as the applicant
  • Documents evidencing that any children over the age of 21 are financially dependent upon the applicant

The employer is able to apply on behalf of the applicant’s family contingent upon obtaining a power of attorney from the family, in addition to copies of each family member’s passport and documents proving they are related to the applicant (such as marriage or birth certificates). Applications to bring family should be submitted with the employee’s application.

These documents must be included with the applicant’s documents when the application is submitted. All documents should be provided in Swedish or English and applications should include copies of original documents.

Time: Approximately 1 month, although if information is missing from the application the process can take up to 4 months.

Fee: SEK 2,000.

If the application is successful, the Swedish Migration Office will contact the applicant via email. A residence permit will be issued.

4. Notification to the Swedish Tax Agency

If a non-EU national is being offered employment, the employer must notify the Swedish Tax Agency and completion of a form including the employee’s name, address and duration of employment, as well as documentation evidencing the employee’s rights to work in Sweden.

If an application for a residence or work permit is unsuccessful, an appeal may be lodged with the Aliens Appeals Board (Utlänningsnämnden) within 3 weeks of receiving rejection. If the appeal contains information that the Aliens Appeals Board deems worthy of revision, the appeal will be passed on for revision. It is not possible to appeal a rejection for work permits, unless there are new grounds for application.

Work permits are valid for a maximum of two years, but may be shorter depending on the expected duration of employment and/or remaining passport validity. They can be renewed through written application to the Migration Agency at a cost of SEK1,000 after a six-month period. During the first two years, applicants must only be employed by the employer who offered the employment, and a new application must be made during this period if they wish to change employers. However, after 2 years, if an extension is granted, employees are permitted to work for another employer. Again, the process to extend the work permit is initiated by the employer.

Use the Shield Geo Solution

Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hands, coordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.

Types of visas in Sweden

Category Description of Visa
Business visa

For non-EU citizens wishing to visit Sweden for a business trip or conference, a business visa is necessary. To be eligible to receive a visa, the following are required:
– A passport with minimum 3 months validity remaining and issued within the last decade
– An offer to attend the conference or engage in business by the hosting company or organisation
– Sufficient funds to travel to and from Sweden as well as living costs, to the amount of SEK 450 per day. This may be shown through bank statements or a statement from the host agreeing to cover the individual’s costs for the duration of their stay.
– Individual medical travel insurance, which covers costs of at least EUR30,000.

Visa applications are to be submitted to a Swedish embassy or consulate-general. They must include the following documentation:
– A statement detailing motivations for visiting Sweden, intended length of stay, means of supporting self, type of passport held, and plans for further travel after staying in Sweden
– Completed application form and family details
– Two passport photographs
– An invitation or letter from the company or organisation arranging the conference, which must disclose personal data, reason for visit, and means of financial support.

Once an application is submitted, a decision can be expected within a fortnight, although this may take longer during busy holiday periods. A visa is generally valid for 90 days. If an application is denied, appeals must be filed within 3 weeks of the decision.

Work permit (employer sponsored)

EU citizens are entitled to work in Sweden without a work permit, on condition that a valid passport or national ID is presented. Non-EU citizens in general must apply for a work permit, with the exceptions of citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Korea aged 18-30, who are eligible to apply for working holiday visas valid for up to one year. To be eligible for a work permit, a Swedish employer must make an official offer of employment for a job that has been advertised on the European Job Mobility Portal for at least 10 days, with employment terms equivalent to Swedish collective agreements – this may be ascertained with verification with the relevant union – and a minimum monthly pre-tax salary of SEK 13,000. The application process can then be completed online or submitted in person at the nearest Swedish embassy or consulate.
The following documents must be submitted with an application for a work permit:
– Completed application form, either online or a hard copy
– A copy of the applicant’s passport pages detailing personal information, validity, and permission to reside outside the country of origin
– Offer of employment
– Application fee of SEK 2,000, although certain occupations such as performers, athletes or visiting researchers enjoy lower fees.

Applications submitted online are considered by the Migration Agency immediately. If completed at an embassy or consulate, the application is forwarded to the Migration Agency in Sweden, which typically adds four weeks to the process. If all required documents are submitted together, the processing time should not exceed 1 month.

If an individual is eligible for a work permit, spouses or registered partners, children under 21 and children over 21 who are financially dependent are eligible to reside in Sweden, and must also apply for residence permits.

Intra-company transfer

For an intra-company transfer, the process is largely similar to a work permit:
– An application must be filed to the Swedish Migration Board or the closest embassy or consulate-general.
– Once approved and granted, a visa application must be made to the embassy or consulate-general in the individual’s home country. This allows the visa to be supported in their passport.
– A residence permit is required for stays exceeding 90 days.

Freelance/entrepreneur permit

Entrepreneurs wishing to work for a period exceeding 3 months must apply for a Swedish residence permit. For periods less than 3 months, an entry visa is required.
The following criteria are required to obtain a residence permit:
– Valid passport
– Proof of experience in the field and running a self-owned business
– Documented and relevant knowledge in Swedish and/or English
– Completed application form at a cost of SEK 2,000
– Proof that the individual runs the business autonomously and owns at least half
– Proof that the business’ services or goods are sold and/or produced in Sweden
– Proof of sufficient supporting funds for the business and family if applicable, including documentation of the business’ budget
– Evidence of a network of established customer contacts in Sweden
– Proof that the company will have its finances in balance following a two year probationary period, and that the individual possesses the ability to support themselves and family if applicable
– Certificates to prove educational and business background

It may take up to 4 weeks to make a decision regarding entrepreneur permits. If granted, the permit is valid for 2 years. Family members are eligible to receive residence permits for an equivalent period of time.



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