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IMMIGRATION TO SWEDEN

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Sweden boasts ‘net profit of immigrant talent’

Sweden last year attracted more talent than it lost, with engineers topping the table of immigrants. In Europe, the biggest influx of professionals was to Germany, but a Middle Eastern country outperformed all surveyed markets.

Sweden boasts 'net profit of immigrant talent'
Photo: Shutterstock

Professional networking site LinkedIn took a better look at its members in a selection of 20 countries to analyze their migration. 

"This mobility of professional talent can tell us a great deal about the state of economic opportunity and the health of the global economy," spokeswoman Lindsey Ahearne said in a statement. 

The aim was, she said,  "to see which were the overall winners and losers of talent in 2013.

Last year, Sweden saw immigration outperform emigration – putting it among the countries who saw a "net profit of talent".

But at a slim 0.1 percent net gain, Sweden hovered just above the Netherlands which saw plus minus zero results in 2013. And Sweden was nowhere near the top dog, the United Arab Emirates, which had a 1.4 percent net gain.

Engineers were top of the list of professionals leaving Sweden, followed by publishers, people working in politics, then in sales, and finally professionals in science-related industries.

Engineers also, however, moved to Sweden more than any other group of professionals. The top five list of professional sectors that saw an influx also included politics, sales, and publishing.

The immigrant list echoed the emigrant list apart from one category – many new arrivals to Sweden work in business and management. 

Spain was at the bottom of the surveyed countries, with a net loss of 0.3 percent. Twenty percent of emigrating Spaniards set sail for Latin America, but the majority – 60 percent – moved to other European countries. 

Germany appeared to be a preferred destination in Europe for professionals.

"Germany has achieved a net gain of 0.4 percent showing it is one of Europe’s strongest and most resilient economies," LinkedIn stated. "Our analysis indicates that over 60 percent of (LinkedIn) members moving to Germany in the past year came from another European country."

 

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”

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