Tax blow for foreign embassy staff in Sweden

Hundreds of employees at foreign embassies in Sweden will see a dramatic cut in their pay packets from the beginning of next year. A new law will force them to start paying tax on their incomes - and their foreign employers are refusing to raise their salaries accordingly.

“We have ended up trapped between Swedish law and the laws in other countries,” said Kerstin Fällström, the new chairman of the embassy employees’ section of the HTF union, to Södertälje’s Länstidningen.

The paper reported that the intention was to raise the basic salary in line with the tax burden, and that anyone working in foreign embassies would be entitled to the same social insurance benefits as other employees in Sweden.

The majority of countries have adjusted the wages paid to their employees in Sweden. Nevertheless, according to Länstidningen the average income after tax will now be around 10,000 kronor a month after tax, compared to 15,000 kronor a month when the wage was tax-free.

“Everyone is nervous before Christmas. People are anticipating not having money for food and rent. Personally, I’ll end up with less than a subsistence wage,” said Fällström, who works at Chile’s consulate general in Stockholm.