NEW LAWS: Here’s what changes about life in Sweden this April

NEW LAWS: Here's what changes about life in Sweden this April
Students could now be graded earlier in Swedish schools. Photo: Alexander Olivera/TT
These are the things to be aware of in April, from changes in coronavirus and travel restrictions to other new laws and more.

Sweden lifts distance-learning rule for upper secondary schools

Upper secondary schools switched to distance learning by default in December to pull a “brake” on the rapid spread of the coronavirus. In January this measure was extended, but adapted so that schools had increased possibility to offer some teaching in-person.

From April 1st, this is no longer be the rule nationwide. Instead, schools may open their doors to pupils over 16, however every school has the possibility to offer remote learning if required due to a high spread of infection at the school or in the area, or if needed in order to reduce crowding at the school or on public transport. That decision can be made by heads of schools, and regional infectious disease doctors should keep schools updated so that the decision is made based on the Covid-19 situation in the area.

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Changes to rules on travel from Denmark, Norway and the UK

Strict entry bans were introduced on travel to Sweden from Denmark, Norway and the UK in December, and these were lifted on March 31st.

From April, travel from Denmark and Norway will be treated the same as other EU/EEA countries, meaning no “special reason” for travel is required, although travellers still need to present a negative Covid-19 test on arrival.

Travel from the UK will be treated the same as other third countries, so an entry ban remains in effect (the ban on entry from third countries was set to expire on March 31st, but has been extended until the end of May), meaning only travellers who fall into an exempt category may enter Sweden. The exemptions from the non-EU travel ban vary slightly from the previous rules for the UK, for example spouses and partners of Swedish or EU/EEA residents and citizens will be exempt from the travel ban.

Another change to be aware of is that people crossing the border for studies will now be treated the same as cross-border workers, meaning they need to show a negative Covid-19 test less than a week old, not less than 48 hours.

Grades become possible from year 4 in school

From April 1st, schools have the option to introduce a formal grade from year 4 (typically for 10- to 11-year-olds); those that do so will issue the first grades in the autumn term. At the moment, most schools start grading from year 6 (12- to 13-year-olds).

Nationwide, few schools have chosen to implement the change, with an SVT survey showing none of Sweden’s ten largest municipalities reported introducing the change at municipal schools. The International English School (IES) was the only one of Sweden’s largest five independently run schools that confirmed in the survey it would introduce grading at year 4. IES will introduce the change at all of its 38 schools. 

What will happen to local coronavirus restrictions?

At the moment, ten of Sweden’s 21 regions have stricter local coronavirus measures in place. These vary from region to region, but typically include recommendations to wear a face mask on public transport and in indoor environments with potential for crowding at all times, and to avoid non-essential travel.

Several are currently set to expire at some point in April (in Västerbotten, Jämtland, Västmanland, Sörmland, and Västra Götaland), but it is possible these may be extended or more measures introduced in other regions. It is also possible national rules will be adapted as the situation develops.

Bigger bonus for zero emissions vehicles

From April 1st, the ‘climate bonus’ on cars, small trucks and minibuses is changing, with the maximum bonus available for zero emissions vehicles raising from 60,000 kronor to 70,000 kronor. For vehicles with emissions above zero, but still below 60 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, the maximum bonus will rise to around 45,000 kronor.

Tax declaration season

The final deadline for submitting your Swedish tax declaration is May 3rd, but for those early birds who submitted theirs online before March 30th, and didn’t need to make any changes, April 7th-9th is when you will get any rebate.  

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