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What you need to know about Sweden’s new rules and laws

What you need to know about Sweden's new rules and laws
Several tax reforms will come into effect in 2020. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
From tax reforms to changes to residence permits – here are ten things that will affect the lives of international residents in Sweden in 2020.

New rules make it easier for student job-hunters

From January 1st, students and researchers will be able to stay in Sweden for up to a year after finishing their studies in order to job-hunt or set up their own business. Previously, overseas students who wanted to stay in Sweden after their course ended could only apply for a residence permit of up to six months.

The Local has written more about the new laws for students here.

Some work permits are getting more expensive

Sweden is raising its application fees for work and residence permits for the first time in a decade – and the cost is set to double for one category of workers. A couple of new permit categories have also been added to the list. Most of the new fees come into force on January 1st. Read the full list of new prices here.

Your taxes are changing in 2020

Several tax reforms will come into effect in 2020. These include lower taxes for high earners, pensioners and people who live in some of Sweden's rural areas. If you drive a car or are planning to sell your house, you will also want to read up on the tax changes that apply to you. Read more about the new taxes here.

Driving in Stockholm is getting more expensive

Stockholm is increasing the charges for driving in the capital in a bid to ease congestion during rush hour. The toll fees, which you can read more about here, will also be divided into peak and off-peak season.


Driving through or into Stockholm is getting more expensive in 2020. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Banks will be forced to offer cash withdrawals

One of the perhaps more counter-intuitive parts of Sweden's cashless trend has been that it has become increasingly difficult to withdraw cash even in bank offices. But this is set to change. From January 1st, major banks in Sweden will be obliged to offer access to cash, and could be fined if they fail to do so.

More civic orientation for new arrivals

Swedish municipalities will have to offer at least 100 hours of civic orientation classes for groups of newly arrived immigrants, an increase from the previous 60 hours. The classes are mean to increase the students' understanding of Swedish society and encourage them to continue to seek more information.

Less money for asylum seekers who move to vulnerable areas

Asylum seekers who secure their own accommodation in a so-called vulnerable area (an area struggling with socioeconomic challenges) will have their daily allowance entitlement restricted. The restriction is intended to encourage asylum seekers to move elsewhere in Sweden and thereby prevent segregation.


Sweden defines 60 areas as 'vulnerable'. Here's a list of all areas in 2019. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Police will get to use camera surveillance without a permit

The police, security police, coast guard and customs agency will get to use camera surveillance without first requesting a permit from the Swedish Data Protection Authority. The authority will retain a watchdog role to uphold laws regarding privacy, but the change is meant to cut the time it takes to process the applications.

International children's rights become Swedish law

Sweden ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, but from the turn of the year it takes a step further and incorporates the convention into Swedish law. Sweden is already progressive when it comes to children's rights, but the idea according to the Swedish government is that making the convention into law will help make it clearer that children are their own legal entities with their own specific rights.

Diplomat children will get free preschool in Sweden

From January 1st, the children of members of foreign missions from non-EU/EEA countries (or Switzerland) will also have the right to not only attend compulsory primary, middle and high school, but also one year of preschool free of charge. The decision is expected to affect around 40 six-year-olds a year.

A list of the new laws can be found here.


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