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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

Travel ban and politics: What changes in Sweden in November?

November is a big month for Sweden – with changes to the travel ban, test recommendations and the prime minister stepping down. Here's an overview of everything happening this month.

Travel ban and politics: What changes in Sweden in November?
File photo of a Covid test station at Arlanda Airport. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

No tests for double-vaccinated from November 1st

As of November 1st, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to take a Covid-19 test before returning to work after they recover – with a few exceptions. The new guidelines also apply to people who have recently been infected with Covid-19 and children under six. The exception is if you’ve been travelling outside of Sweden in the past 14 days, in which case you should get tested if you develop symptoms (and unvaccinated people are always advised to get tested after returning from international travel, even without symptoms).

“You should feel better and back to your normal self, even if you still have some respiratory symptoms. For most people this means you should stay at home for at least a few days, but often up to a week,” said Karin Tegmark Wisell, deputy state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, at a press conference announcing the change.

Although tests are no longer required for these people, the Public Health Agency still recommends that people with symptoms of respiratory infections stay at home until they feel better, returning to work, school or preschool once they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. This is also to help avoid spreading other respiratory illnesses such as RSV virus (a common winter virus mainly affecting children) and influenza.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven retiring at party congress

After announcing his retirement this summer, Löfven will be stepping down as prime minister during the Social Democrats’ party conference in Gothenburg, taking place November 3rd-7th. Löfven has been prime minister since 2014, winning the 2014 and 2018 elections.

He is expected to be replaced by current Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, who will become Sweden’s first female prime minister if she is approved by parliament.

Sweden next election – if no extra elections are called – will take place in September 2022.

Stefan Löfven cuddling a puppy just weeks before resigning as prime minister. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Travel ban extended – but vaccinated US travellers are exempted from November 5th

From November 5th, people who can show a Covid vaccination certificate issued in the US will be able to travel to Sweden freely, without any entry bans or test requirements.

The decision comes after the US said it would allow entry to fully vaccinated travellers from the Schengen area, including Sweden, from November 8th.

The government announced an exception for UK-vaccinated travellers earlier in October, and have now added that holders of vaccination certificates from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man will also be able to travel to Sweden from November 5th.

See here for The Local’s article for more information on the travel ban and exemptions.

Clocks go back, signalling start of winter time

From November, the nights will get darker earlier – this is due to the clocks going back on October 31st, and the start of vintertid (winter time) in Sweden. You may get less sunlight, but this also means an extra hour in bed for most on Sunday morning.

This was expected to be the last time the clocks go back after an EU vote to scrap the changing of the hour from 2021, but after EU member states couldn’t agree on whether to stick to winter time or summer time, discussions are still ongoing – so this may not be the last clock change after all.

See this article from our sister site The Local France for more details.

Budget vote due this month

Sweden’s budget for 2022 will be voted on in November. It’s currently unclear as to what this budget will look like, with discussions still in progress between the different parties.

Budget negotiations represent a major hurdle for incoming Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson – failing to pass the Social Democrat-Green Party budget would be a major blow for the current Finance Minister so early on in her term.

Here’s an explainer on the budget negotiations, and what they could mean for the government.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

KEY POINTS: What changes in Sweden in June 2022

A new work permit law, Terminal 4 reopens, Stockholm summits and National Day. Here are some of the things that change in Sweden in June.

KEY POINTS: What changes in Sweden in June 2022

New work permit law 

On June 1st, the changes to Sweden’s work permit system approved by parliament in April will finally come into force. In practice, this will mean several changes, some positive, some negative, both for employers in Sweden seeking to hire internationally and for those coming to Sweden to work. 

For applicants, perhaps the most important change is that, from June 1st, you will need to supply a copy of a signed employment contract (with some exceptions). Previously, you simply needed an offer of employment. The law is retroactive, so if you’re now waiting for a work permit decision, you will need to supplement your application with a signed work contract. 

The new law also allows you to receive a theoretically unlimited number of work permits, without automatically making you apply for permanent residency and allows those waiting for a decision to receive visas for business trips. 

The new law requests that the Migration Agency refrain from revoking work permits if their employers’ have made minor mistakes that would make it unreasonable to do so.

The Migration Agency has warned that the changes will mean (even) longer processing times. 

The agency has published guidelines in English on the new law on its website here

New talent visa 

As part of the new work permit law, the government has also brought in a new nine-month talent visa for for highly educated people who want to “spend time in the country to look for work or to look into the possibility of starting a business”. Read our article on that here. According to Karl Rahm, who has helped draw up the law within the Ministry of Justice, a master’s degree (MA or MSc), should be sufficient.

Applicants will need to show that they have enough money to support themselves, with Rahm saying that this was likely to be set at the same level as the minimum salary for those applying for a work permit (currently 13,000 kronor a month, so either an income of that much, or 117,000 kronor (€11,259) in saved capital for a nine month stay. 

The Migration Agency has promised to publish details of how to apply for the new visa on or just before June 1st. 

Terminal 4 to reopen at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport 

On June 15th, Sweden’s state-owned airport operator Swedavia will reopen Terminal 4 at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, which it hopes will help bring down the long queues seen over the last month. 

EU directive on Transparent and predictable working conditions comes into force 

The EU’s directive on Transparent and predictable working conditions comes into force on June 20th, after being voted through the Swedish parliament earlier this year. 

According to the European Commission’s website, the directive gives employees the right to “more complete information on the essential aspects of the work, to be received early by the worker, in writing, even (and unlike in Sweden previously) for jobs shorter than three weeks. 

In the law passed by the Swedish parliament, it says that as a result of the directive, employers must, among other things, generally alert employees to changes in their hours at least two weeks in advance. 

Roger Haddad, vice chair of the parliament’s employment committee said that for him the most important aspect of the new law is the way it will standardise the information new employees need to receive on jobs they are being offered across the European Union. 

“I welcome this, it makes it easier to compare employments across the whole union and expands the labour opportunities for individuals,” he told The Local. 

Järvaveckan political festival held outside Stockholm 

From June 1st to June 5th, the Järvaveckan political festival will be held in Järvafältet, near the troubled suburb of Rinkeby. According to The Global Village, the arrangers, all Sweden’s party leaders except for the Sweden Democrats’ Jimmie Åkesson will give speeches at the festival. 

Järvaveckan was started in 2016 as an alternative to the Almedalen festival which would bring politicians closer to parts of Sweden where many first and second-generation immigrants live. 

Stockholm +50 summit outside Stockholm 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres will be in Stockholm on June 2nd and June 3rd for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm back in 1972. The so-called Stockholm 50+ summit is being viewed as an important step on the way to the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference in November, where the hope is that countries will update their Nationally Determined Contributions, the concrete
plans they have to reduce carbon emissions, so that global warming can be kept well below 2C. 

Nato Summit in Madrid 

Sweden and Finland will both attend Nato’s summit in Madrid from June 29th to June 30th, although the hope that Nato would be ready to present the special Accession Protocols to the Washington Treaty for the two countries at the summit now looks quite far-fetched. The summit remains, however, a sort of informal deadline for the negotiations with Turkey over its demands for approving Swedish and Finnish membership. 
 
National Day 
 
On June 6th it’s Sweden’s National Day. What makes this year special is that for the first time since the pandemic started, cities across Sweden will hold full-scale welcome ceremonies for new citizens, with all those who have become citizens during 2019, 2020, or 2021 invited. 
 
This year, National Day is on a Monday, which means a day of work. This year, National Day is falling on Whit Monday, which it replaced as a public holiday in 2005. 
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