• Sweden edition
 
Foreign-born workers miss out on pensions

Foreign-born workers miss out on pensions

Published: 28 Oct 2013 12:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Oct 2013 12:34 GMT+01:00

Every February the Swedish Pensions Agency sends out millions of "Orange Envelopes". The envelopes contain information calculating how much the recipient will earn from the national public pension scheme (allmänna pensionen) after retirement.

But many foreign-born residents aren't taking out their pension, or aren't receiving as much support as they are entitled - most likely because they don't understand the contents of the envelope.

"At least some hundred of thousands aren't getting full benefits," pension agency expert Arne Paulsson told The Local. "We have a lot of immigrants here who are not so good at the Swedish language and don't read the information they get in the orange letters."

The agency is now launching a campaign in eight different languages, including English, with the message that everyone who lives or works in Sweden has a right to a pension.

"These people need to know that if you work, and of course pay your taxes, or just live here, then you are entitled to a pension," agency information manager Sofia Wagner told The Local.

RELATED ARTICLE: Seven reasons why Swedes should employ immigrants

In order to receive a full-scale pension in Sweden, people must work a minimum of 40 years. For this reason foreign-born workers in Sweden risk scraping by on nominal sums after retirement. Foreign-born workers in Sweden receive on average 275,565 kronor ($43,600) in pension, compared with 918,710 kronor ($145,400) for those born in Sweden.

"It's just basic security, a garantipension (guarantee pension)," Paulsson explained. "You are supported in a way you can survive, but you are not able to afford many things."

But Wagner said there is additional support available for those who know where to find it.

"Quite a few people are afraid when they near retirement, wondering, 'How will my retirement be? I don’t have enough money'. And if you come here when you are 40, of course you will have a lower pension. But there are security systems in Sweden to see to that you do have enough money to live off, at least so that you can cope," Wagner told The Local.

"For instance, there are housing allowances to help you pay your rent. But there are certain rules for this and you need to apply to it."

Wagner said a 2012 review estimated that 140,000 people are eligible for a housing allowance, but haven't applied for one. She hopes the educational campaign will change that.

"We have multilingual staff who are giving out folders with contact information in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. We are also educating the staff at community centres, since these language groups often go there for society information. For Arabic and Somali speakers we are also giving out informational calendars with both Swedish and Muslim holidays."

RELATED ARTICLE: Seven tips for snagging a job at Sweden's most attractive companies

Even those who have worked or lived in Sweden but then moved abroad are eligible for Swedish pensions, but only if the agency can track them down – an obstacle which prevents thousands of retirees from getting benefits.

"Every year we send about 230,000 orange envelopes abroad to people who don’t live in Sweden but have earned towards Swedish pensions," agency spokesperson Mattias Bengtsson Byström told The Local.

"But there are 300,000 people who have moved abroad who we just can't find. People who moved away in the 1970s and have moved around since then and didn’t update their addresses at the Swedish tax agency (Skatteverket)."

Byström added that many of the these pensioners may already have passed away, but the agency lacks information about their deaths. Their pension money would normally go back into the system and contribute to other pensioners' plans, but since the agency cannot confirm their deaths the situation is more complicated.

The new campaign consists primarily of online and radio advertisements in Arabic, Farsi, Polish, English, Spanish, Turkish, Croatian, and Somali. The ads will be displayed on international news sites reached by computer IP addresses in Sweden, and prime-time radio announcements will be featured on popular Persian radio channels in Sweden.

"There are many immigrants who don't know that much about the Swedish pension system and it's really important that they feel secure," Wagner told The Local.

"We don't want anyone to feel vulnerable."

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Palestinians in Gaza last month. Photo: Adel Hana

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially recognized Palestine following a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing
Dewani in a Cape Town court. Photo: TT

Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing

A man jailed for killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's wife during their Cape Town honeymoon said on Wednesday they spoke shortly before the murder to discuss payment. READ  

National
Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages
An SL bus in the Swedish capital. Photo: TT

Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages

Police are investigating after several bus drivers were forced to read "highly inappropriate" messages sent through the Stockholm bus network's internal communications network. READ  

The Local List
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Photo: TT

Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Swedish football hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes the headlines almost as much for his offhand comments as for his footballing prowess. Here are our ten favourite Zlatan quotes. READ  

National
Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'
The ship is carrying 52 tonnes of oil. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'

UPDATED: There are fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil that crashed in Stockholm's archipelago on Wednesday morning could sink. READ  

Society
Swedes are 'least ignorant' in Europe
Do people from your country have their heads in the sand? Photo: Shutterstock

Swedes are 'least ignorant' in Europe

People in Sweden are the best in Europe when it comes to understanding the scale of key social issues or knowing core facts about their country's population. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

994
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN