There’s a record number of summer jobs up for grabs in Sweden this year

The summer could be the perfect time for newcomers to break into Sweden's labour market – and this year there are more opportunities than ever before.

There's a record number of summer jobs up for grabs in Sweden this year
The summer holidays could bring a cash boost for unemployed foreigners. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

As many as 110,000 summer jobs have so far been advertised across Sweden via the national job agency Arbetsförmedlingen's Platsbanken site – up from 105,000 last year.

In April alone, more than 14,000 new summer vacancies were posted on the site.

A major explanation is the economic boom in Sweden, which means that the employment rate is currently high. Sweden's full-time employees may take four consecutive weeks off during June-August, so there are plenty of temporary substitute openings available on top of seasonal work.

Essential guides for job hunters in Sweden:

The majority of positions are found in the healthcare and social services sectors, but employers are also looking for shopkeepers, cleaners, restaurant staff, storage facility workers and hotel receptionists.

While many jobs require Swedish, the summer season often offers more opportunities than usual for those with limited Swedish skills, and is a good time to get a foot in the door of the jobs market.

Seasonal jobs for English-speakers may for example be available in major cities or tourism destinations, where it is more important that you can communicate with international tourists than have fluent Swedish.

In the healthcare industry, there may also be opportunities to work as a personal care assistant for someone whose native language you speak. Another option could be to look for entry-level jobs such as a cleaner.

My Swedish Career – internationals share their best tips:

Even if the summer job does not exactly match your level of experience or future career aspirations in Sweden, it is sometimes useful to try to see it as an opportunity rather than a step down. In Sweden, seven out of ten jobs are obtained through personal connections, so using the summer to catch up with locals in terms of network-building or industry knowledge can be particularly useful for newcomers.

Finally, if you're planning to work in Sweden over the summer, make sure that you know your rights regarding salary and time off.

Some information on minimum salary requirements can be found here, and remember never to accept a job offer with no contract or paid in cash, as this likely means you won't be protected by Sweden's employment legislation.

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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.”