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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

Everything that changes about life in Sweden in April 2022

The end of Sweden's Covid-19 travel restrictions, a new work permit law, and switching to summer tyres. Here are some of the things you need to be aware of in April.

A worker changes a tyre at Haggströms Däck in Stockholm
A worker changes a tyre at Haggströms Däck in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT
Covid-19 no longer ‘a serious threat to society’, and pandemic law expires 
 
Sweden’s parliament decided last week to let two temporary laws put in place to battle the Covid-19 pandemic expire.
 
Both the so-called ‘pandemic law’, and a law empowering the government to impose temporary infection prevention restrictions on bars and restaurants, will now cease to apply from the end of April. 
 
This will have little practical impact on life in Sweden, as the restrictions imposed on the back of these two laws were lifted months ago. But it does means that if the government needs to bring back these infection measures, it will have to pass a new version of the law.
 
At the same time, the government’s decision to stop classifying Covid-19 as a “critical threat to society”, and “a disease that’s dangerous to the public”, comes into force on April 1st. 
 
This classification, among other measures, empowers the government to impose health checks on inbound passengers, place people in quarantine, and ban people from entering certain areas. 
 
 
The end of Sweden’s last remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions
 
Sweden’s last remaining travel restriction, the entry ban for non-EU arrivals, is set to expire on March 31st, Sweden’s government confirmed in a press release. This means that from April 1st, Sweden’s travel rules will return to how they were before the Covid-19 pandemic began, with no one required to show a vaccination or test certificate to enter the country. 

The ban has meant that people travelling to Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries cannot enter the country unless they are covered by one of a series of exemptions from the entry ban.

Such an exemption could be for example living in one of the 16 so-called “exempt countries”, having a valid Covid vaccine pass issued by one of 26 “approved countries”, or being a resident of Sweden.

In practice, this has meant travellers from most of the world’s countries outside Europe still cannot come to Sweden, even if they are fully vaccinated, unless they meet a very narrow list of exemptions.

New work permit law expected to go through parliament 
 
Sweden’s new law on “stricter and better rules on labour migration”, is scheduled to go before parliament on April 20th, and to then come into force on June 1st. 
 
The law attempts to deal with the problem of  kompetensutvisningar or “talent deportations”. The proposed new law reads: “A temporary residency permit granted for work reasons does not need to be revoked in the case of minor discrepancies or if in the circumstances revoking it would not appear to be proportional”. 
 
The new law also provides for a new type of residency permit for certain highly skilled people who want to look for work in Sweden or seek to start a new business in Sweden. 
 
 
April tax deadlines
 
March 30th is the deadline to submit your tax declaration online if you want to receive a tax refund before Easter. If no changes need to be made, people submitting by this date will receive any refund between April 5th and 8th.
 
Those receiving paper declarations, will receive them by post between mid-March and April 15th.

If you receive a paper declaration, you can still fill it in digitally to get the earlier rebate, and you can submit your paper declaration from April 17th.

Remember to switch to summer tyres   
 
From March 31st, it is no longer legally necessary to have studded winter tyres fitted to your car if weather conditions require it. According to the Swedish Transport Agency, studded winter tyres are only allowed between October 1st and April 15th, or in wintry driving conditions.
 
This means you now have just two weeks (until April 15th) to switch out your studded tyres.
 

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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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