Since Sweden eased the rules for labour migration two years ago, thousands of foreign professionals have been able to move to the country.
With falling unemployment in Sweden and with a large number of people born in the forties and fifties soon due to retire, many sectors are crying out for suitably qualified and experienced workers.
An official list of sectors experiencing labour shortages is now published twice a year, giving jobseekers from abroad a good idea of the kind of skills Sweden needs.
Drawn up by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and the Swedish National Institute of Economic Research (Konjunkturinstitutet), the list covers dozens of sectors:
“There are a lot of professions on the list, and given how the employment market is developing, it is only likely to get longer,” says Håkan Gustavsson, analyst at the Employment Service.
To move to Sweden for work from a country outside the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, all you should need is a written offer of employment from a Swedish employer.
Your terms and conditions also need to be approved by a relevant trade union.
“If an employer wants a certain person for a certain job, that is now considered to be proof that this person is needed in Sweden,” says Gustavsson. Prior to the new law, Swedish officials would make a judgment about whether a job could be filled by a local worker.
“It has become objectively easier to move here to work,” says Fredrik Martinsson at the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), which is responsible for issuing work permits.
There are still a few conditions that must be fulfilled for a work permit to be issued. Most importantly, the job must have been advertised widely.
It is usually considered necessary for an advertisement to have been published on the EU’s job database EURES http://bit.ly/Sweden-Eures before the job is offered to an applicant from outside the EEA or Switzerland.
If the job has been advertised and the conditions have been approved by a union, you can apply for a work permit online at the Swedish Migration Board from outside Sweden, and your path is clear to move to Sweden.
However, if your job is on the labour shortage list, you can in certain circumstances get your on-line application processed from within Sweden – without the need to return to your home country first.
The kinds of jobs on the labour shortage list are hugely varied. In 2010, the largest number of work permits was issued for computer specialists.
Other jobs in the top ten were restaurant staff, civil engineers and architects, professional athletes, entertainers and accountants.
Medical staff are another category highly sought after in Sweden, with doctors, psychologists and various kinds of nurse (paediatric, operating room, psychiatric, public heath, geriatric, emergency care) all needed.
Of course, for these kinds of professions there are often regulatory requirements to adhere to, and professionals with qualifications from their homelands may need to partially or completely requalify to meet Swedish requirements.
The best way to find out is to contact the profession’s regulatory body in Sweden.
Things to think about when applying for a job in Sweden:
Check out your potential employer’s credentials. Are they a serious employer who will offer you real work at market rates? If they’re not, its unlikely that your work permit will be approved.
Do you have the necessary qualifications to take the job? Will your qualifications from your home country be recognized in Sweden? Do your research before you apply.
Advice can differ, and it will sometimes depend on the kind of job you are applying for, but the key is to make sure you adapt your message for your audience.
Make sure you prepare for the job interview.
Employers will be keen to know why you want to move to Sweden and why this particular job interests you. They will want to make sure you are willing and able to stay for several years. Finding out a bit more about Sweden before you move will help you convince them that you are serious.
Consider whether the job you are applying for requires you to speak Swedish, or whether you would be able to do the job in English.
Would your potential employer be willing to take you on and let you learn Swedish while you work? Should you try and get some Swedish tuition in your home country while you wait?
Article sponsored by Svenska Institutet