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Teaching vacancies jump in Sweden

The number of advertised vacancies for teaching jobs in Sweden has leapt 25 percent over the past year, new figures show, with unions arguing that low salaries are to blame.

Teaching vacancies jump in Sweden

As of end June, 29,000 teaching jobs were advertised in Sweden, according to figures from the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), which amounts to 25 percent more than in the first half of last year.

The trend can be seen most clearly among pre-school teachers and recreation instructors, with the number of job vacancies increasing by as much as 44 percent.

The number of vacancies among primary and secondary school teachers has increased by 24 percent.

The sharp increase in pre-school teacher jobs has been explained as being due to an upswing in the birthrate.

“The number of children in Sweden is growing. And population projections show that the baby boom will continue to grow in the coming years,” said Marwin Nilsson at the Employment Service’s research department.

Qualified pre-school teachers can thus expect to be able to be selective when finding work in the near future.

“They face a favourable labour market in the future, that is true. It is in this group within the profession that we detect a labour shortage, as child care is being expanded so significantly,” he said.

The only teacher category which has seen vacancies decline is specialist teachers at high schools (gymnasium), dropping 1 percent.

A further factor contributing to the boom in teaching vacancies is the fact that large numbers are retiring.

In the period up to 2025, between 36 and 66 percent of Sweden’s teaching professionals are set to retire.

University and college teachers are at the lower end of this span, with the highest proportion of retirees among special education teachers.

The Swedish Teachers’ Union (Lärarförbundet) charts the supply of teachers and vacancies and argues that the current situation is historically significant.

“We have followed the situation for around a decade and this strong growth is unprecedented,” Eva-Lis Sirén at the union said.

Sirén argued that the situation is serious, given the fact that fewer are applying to teacher training, while the demand for teachers increases.

“The really serious thing is that major reforms are being carried out in schools and demands on teachers will increase. The reforms are likely to fall flat if no one wants to become a teacher.”

Sirén argued that pay levels are a factor that needs to be addressed.

“All those in positions of responsibility have to stop the blame-game and realize that salaries are far too low,” she said.

Sirén added that schools in neighbouring Norway have become more attractive to Swedish teachers, due to the higher salaries paid there.

“We can see that teachers are fleeing to Norway. We see this most clearly among pre-school teachers, as it is there that shortages are the greatest,” she said.

Even independent schools concern Pysslingen has noticed the shortage of pre-school teachers.

“It is clear that there are fewer applicants for each post. When you find some good candidates there are more employers who are interested in them. So it is clear that pre-school teachers are paying more attention to the salary before they choose, said Pysslingen HR manager Greta Sundin.

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WORKING IN SWEDEN

EXPLAINED: How do you apply for Sweden’s new ‘talent visa’?

From June 1st, non-EU citizens can apply to come to Sweden on the new talent visa or "resi­dence permit for highly quali­fied persons". These are the latest details on how to apply.

EXPLAINED: How do you apply for Sweden's new 'talent visa'?

Sweden’s “resi­dence permit for highly quali­fied persons to look for work or start a busi­ness” was voted through parliament in April as part of a set of changes to the country’s new work laws in April.

The visa was brought in as part of the January Agreement between the economically liberal Centre and Liberal Parties and the Social Democrat government. 

The basic form for the new talent visa was published when parliament voted it through: The visa allows non-EU citizens with a higher-level degree to apply for a visa of between three to nine months, which they can then use to stay in Sweden while they look for work or research setting up a new business.  

But the Migration Agency on June 1st published the details of what exact educational requirements are required to be eligible for the new visa, how much money applicants need to show they have to support themselves, and how and where to apply. They also published the form that needs to be filled in

What counts as an advanced-level degree and how do I prove it? 

The bar is set pretty low. To be eligible for the talent visa, applicants need to have a degree corresponding to at least a 60-credit Master’s degree, a 120-credit Master’s degree, a professional degree worth 60-330 credits, or a postgraduate/PhD-level degree.

You need to send copies of any examination certificates along with your application, as well as copies of the official transcript of your academic record, that shows the courses included in your education. 

If these documents are in a language other than English, French, Spanish, German, or a Nordic language, they have to be translated into Swedish or one of the above languages by an authorized translator.

You also need to print out, sign, scan, and send a letter of consent to the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), allowing them to contact the educational institutions where you studied for your higher-level degree.

What financial assets do I need to show and how do I prove them? 

You must need to show that you have enough money (or a source of regular income) to support yourself during the time that you will be in Sweden, as well as enough to pay for your journey home. The Migration Agency judges that you need 13,000 kronor per month, so you need a lump sum of 117,000 kronor (€12,000). 

Source: Migration Agency

To prove that you can support yourself, you must either submit copies of your bank statements (plus a translated version if necessary). If you have another source of regular funding, you can explain in the ‘other’ box on what you intend, and enclose documents to support this.

What insurance do you need? 

You need to confirm that you have signed a comprehensive health insurance on the form, and also name the insurance company and the dates between which the insurance policy is valid. 

The insurance needs to cover the costs of emergency and other medical care, hospitalisation, dental care, and also the cost of repatriation for medical reasons. You need to enclose a copy of a document setting out the terms of your insurance policy. 

Source: Migration Agency

What do you need to write about your plans for Sweden? 

According to the Migration Agency, the visa is for people living outside the EU who “plan to seek employment or explore the possibilities for starting [their] own business”, but the form gives few guidelines as to what will count. 

In the form, there is a space for a few sentences in which you can say what sort of business you plan to start, or which sort of job you intend to look for, as well as whether you intend to leave Sweden, or apply for residency in another way if you fail to secure a job. 

Carl Bexelius, the Migration Agency’s Head of Legal Affairs, said that there was no requirement in the legislation that those with the new talent visa seek jobs that require them to be highly qualified. 

“The crucial part is that you have you are talented in a legal sense, that you have the appropriate education to qualify. If they find work, they can then apply for for a work permit, but that work does not need to require high qualifications.”

Other requirements? 

The other requirement is to have a passport that is valid for the full period in which you will be in Sweden. In the application you need to send copies of all the pages that show your personal data, photo, signature, passport number, issuing country, period of validity, entry stamps, and also if you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin. 

How to apply? 

You need to send the application form, with the attached documents to the Swedish embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence, or, if that is not possible, at the embassy or consulate-general in the closest country. 

You should contact the embassy for information before applying, and to learn how large an application fee you will need to pay. 

What sort of permit will I get? 

If you get a permit valid for more than three months, you will get a residence permit card which features your fingerprints and a photo.

If you need an entry visa to come to Sweden, you will need to be photographed and have your fingerprints scanned at the Swedish embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence before leaving to come to Sweden.

If you do not need an entry visa, you can apply for a residency card, and have your photo taken and your fingerprints scanned, after your arrival in Sweden. 

What happens if I get a job or start a business while in Sweden? 

If you get a job while in Sweden, you can apply for a work permit from within the country. You cannot start work until the work permit is granted, though (which may not happen until after your talent visa has already expired). 

If you start a business in Sweden, you can apply for a residence permit as a self-employed person. You can start setting up and running your business even before the Migration Agency has made its decision. 

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