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How Denmark plans to attract more workers from Sweden

A new cross-border collaboration to match Swedish job seekers with Danish employers aims to solve the late-pandemic labour crises in both countries.

the öresund bridge in swedish and danish colours
A new Swedish-Danish collaboration is aiming to solve the jobs crises on both sides of the Öresund. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The focus of the new strategy is a jobs fair to be held at the Malmömässan Conference Centre in the southern Hyllie district of Malmö between 10am and 3pm on October 27th, where 20 Danish companies will be matched with 600 job seekers from the south of Sweden.

The plan is a collaboration between Greater Copenhagen, Malmö municipality, Copenhagen municipality, the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) and the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), aiming to solve the issue of Denmarks 53,500 private sector vacancies by filling them with some of the 65,000 unemployed people in southern Swedish region Skåne.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s new labour proposal say about foreign workers?

The initiative will be relevant for residents of Sweden who are able to work in Denmark: Swedish citizens, Nordic citizens, EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens.

Other so-called “third country” citizens are unable to work in Denmark while living in Sweden unless they qualify for a Danish work permit – in 2021, these permits are awarded to those who have job offers with a yearly salary of at least 445,000 Danish kroner (600,000 Swedish kronor), or those filling positions listed on Denmark’s “positive list” of professions lacking workers.

Unfortunately, those already holding a Swedish work permit are not able to work in Denmark without applying for a Danish work permit – these permits are not valid in both countries.

For those who are eligible, living in Sweden while working in Denmark can be an attractive choice, as the Danish krone is stronger than the Swedish krona, meaning salaries in Danish kroner are worth more in Sweden.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have so many job vacancies?

“I really hope that unemployed people and students in and around Malmö will consider working in Copenhagen – they’re more than welcome,” said Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard, Copenhagen’s mayor of employment and integration, in a statement.

Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce described the match between Swedish unemployed and Danish companies as a “win-win situation”.

“We’re seeing restaurants closing and hotels not being able to open rooms because they can’t find enough staff. It’s awful,” he said.

Swedish employers are also struggling to fill positions after the peak of the pandemic, with the hotel and restaurant industry particularly affected. The Swedish Public Employment Service reported this month that almost 124,000 jobs were advertised on its site in September, up from 60,000 last year and 80,000 two years ago. 

READ ALSO: Swedish employers told not to let language be a barrier to hiring staff

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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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