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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
A citizenship ceremony at Stockholm town hall in 2017. Photo: Lars Pedersen/TT

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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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

What changes in Sweden in August 2022?

Swedes go back to work and school, travel chaos looks set to continue and a possible Covid peak. Here's what changes in Sweden in August 2022.

What changes in Sweden in August 2022?

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Swedes return to work – and the school year starts

In August, Swedes start heading back to the office after their summer holidays, where the majority of workers take at least a couple of weeks off during July. This means that replies to all those unanswered emails you’ve sent over the last few weeks will start ticking into your inbox as Sweden’s workers return to their desks.

In a similar vein, kids will go back to school in August, although the exact date when schools go back varies depending on where you live in the country.

Travel chaos in Europe

The chaotic travel situation seen during the past few months looks set to continue, with airports throughout Europe likely to remain busy during August. Airlines across the continent have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule, and strikes affecting several airlines and airports in other European countries will also affect Swedish travellers planning on taking a late summer holiday.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

Risk of Covid-19 peak hitting Sweden in August

According to Sweden’s Public Health Agency, the amount of people infected with Covid-19 in the country could peak in mid-August. During the summer, infection rates have increased week-on-week, with more than half of Sweden’s regions reporting an increase in cases.

This is in part due to the high number of Swedes about to return to work following their summer holidays in July.

“It usually takes around two weeks from returning to work for there to be a noticeable increase,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, the Agency’s general director, told TT news wire.

Having said that, Tegmark Wisell believes the risk of having to introduce new restrictions or close schools is low.

“We can’t rule local outbreaks out,” she told TT. “In a situation where teaching can’t be carried out, the school could decide to close independently of Covid-19 legislation.”

 

NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Hike in pay-outs to poorest pensioners 

Pensioners in Sweden will receive an extra 1,000 kronor per month from August, and will also receive an extra housing bonus, under changes driven negotiated by the Left Party in exchange for backing Magdalena Andersson as Prime Minister. 
 
Teachers can ban mobile phones in the classroom 
 
A change in Sweden’s school law means that pupils can only use their mobile phones during lessons if their teacher gives them instructions to do so. Teachers have also been given increased powers to seize pupils’ mobile phones and to bring in mobile phone free school days. 
 

A ban on unregistered pre-paid mobile phones

Pre-paid SIM cards, known in Swedish as kontantkort or cash cards, will require registration with information including the owner’s name and personal identity number (personnummer) from August 1st. 

The new rules could present difficulties for people without a personnummer, such as foreign nationals who have recently moved to Sweden, since a personal identity number is needed to set up a phone contract.

Existing pre-paid sims will continue to work without registration until February next year. 

Tougher penalties for rape and buying sex 

From August 1st, Sweden is bringing in tougher penalties for a range of sexual crimes. The minimum jail sentence for rape and child rape rises from two years to three. Being caught buying sex will always come with a jail sentence, rather than just a fine.

The minimum sentence for child sex abuse rises from the shortest possible prison sentence to six months behind bars, as does the minimum for ‘exploiting children through the purchase of sexual acts’. The minimum sentence for making children pose sexually rises from a fine to imprisonment. 

Lower threshold for deporting criminals 

From August 1st, Sweden’s government is making it easier for criminals who are foreign citizens to be deported from Sweden after serving their sentence. Criminals can now be deported for less serious crimes than previously, and they will need to give a higher level of evidence that they are established in Sweden for this to be a defence. There will also no longer be a ban on deporting criminals who came to Sweden as children. Read the full list of changes here (in Swedish). 

Better rules for international female same-sex parents  

A woman who is or has been married to another woman who has a child in Sweden will now automatically be considered the child’s parent, under a change designed to make Sweden’s parenting laws more equal. The change will mean that international female same-sex couples who come to Sweden will enjoy a similar status as parents under Swedish law as couples consisting of a man and a woman. The new law comes into force on August 1st. 

New EU regulations to protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

On August 1st, the EU’s new Brussels II regulation, which is designed to protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes, comes into force in Sweden. Among other changes, the new regulation imposes deadlines on courts in all EU countries when handling international child abduction cases. All courts must decide on returning a child to the parent with the right of custody within six weeks, with a further six weeks allowed for appeal. The regulations also require that the opinions of children who can express themselves play a role in proceedings. Read about the rules here

You can see a full list of new laws coming into force on August 1st here.

Municipalities required to offer ‘cohesive adult education’ to adult immigrants 

From August 1st, all municipalities are required to offer a ‘cohesive adult education’ to all adults arriving in Sweden who are covered by the Swedish Public Employment Service’s Establishment Programme.  Under the new rule municipalities must offer an average of 23 hours of education a week over a four-week period, which will include parts of the Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) course, a ‘civic orientation’ course, and other education within the municipal adult education departments. 

 

FESTIVALS

Crayfish parties

Unfortunately there are no public holidays in August, although this doesn’t mean there’s nothing to celebrate. Crayfish season traditionally starts on August 7th in Sweden, so be prepared for crayfish-themed decorations to start popping up in your local supermarket, and find some friends (preferably with access to a summer house) to hold your very own kräftskiva (crayfish party).

As with most Swedish celebrations, expect drinking songs, lots of snaps, crispbread, cheese, and most likely some sort of västerbottenpaj – a quiche featuring Sweden’s favourite cheese, västerbottensost.

Here’s our guide to six essential Swedish drinking songs for crayfish party season.

Stockholm Pride

Pride is also kicking off in Stockholm next month. Celebrations will begin on August 1st and carry on until August 7th. This year’s theme is Dags att bekänna färg (Time to profess colour) and will feature a parade on Saturday August 6th, as well as events, music and parties in Pride Park (Östermalms IP) between Wednesday August 3rd and Saturday August 6th.

Here’s a link to the programme (in Swedish).

Malmöfestivalen

For those based in the south of the country, Malmöfestivalen will be taking place from August 12th-19th. The festival will include music, activities for children, dance and art, as well as food stalls.

Way Out West

Not to leave Gothenburg off the list, Way Out West music festival will also be taking place in August, between the 11th and 19th. Unlike Pride and Malmöfestivalen, this festival isn’t free, but at the time of writing there are still tickets available.

Artists performing at the festival this year include Tame Impala, Chance the Rapper, Jamie XX, First Aid Kit and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

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