The fast track to a Swedish career

For skilled workers arriving in Sweden, breaking into the job market can be challenging. Fortunately, there are initiatives that make finding the right role easier.

The fast track to a Swedish career
Pouya Louyeh from Iran completed an internship with Volvo throgh Jobbsprånget. Photo: Supplied

Anuja Dabholkar from India, and Pouya Louyeh, from Iran were recent participants in the  Jobbsprånget program, the Swedish government program designed to assist academics, researchers and skilled workers from outside the EEA in securing jobs across Sweden. 

We spoke to the pair to discuss their experiences, and reflect upon how the program helped them succeed.

7 out of 10 Jobbsprånget participants are offered a job following their placement. Find out why

‘A platform to showcase my skills’: Anuja’s story

Having arrived in Sweden with a postgraduate science degree in Analytical Techniques, Anuja was keen to find employment that both aligned with her qualifications, and also immersed her in Swedish life. 

“After completing my Swedish language course at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), I was looking for opportunities to get into the Swedish job market. That’s when I came across Jobbsprånget.

“Although it was an internship program I thought it would be a good platform for me to learn more about the Swedish job market. I applied through Jobbsprånget’s website and landed my first internship.”

Soon enough, she found herself in a role with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. She continues: “I managed to get an internship at AstraZeneca as a Laboratory Engineer. I had a wonderful experience working there!”

“I learned how to work in a Swedish company, about further job opportunities there and I gained far more experience in the pharmaceutical industry.” 

It wasn’t just workplace skills she gathered. 

“I learned all about the Swedish working culture from my mentors. I came to understand the work-life balance that Swedish culture really values.

“I also improved my Swedish language skills and discovered how ‘fika’ – the traditional break for coffee and cake – is an important part of Swedish work culture!”

Following her experience, Anuja was offered a role at AstraZeneca as a consultant, and is enjoying the challenges that the job provides. Reflecting on her Jobbsprånget experience, she is emphatically positive.

“The program really helped provide a platform to showcase my skills in the pharmaceutical and laboratory fields. I also gained valuable insights into my company’s vision and values.

“Just as important, my experience with the Jobbsprånget program helped me hone my Swedish language skills and build my social network.”

Undertake a supported internship that can turn into a Swedish career. Discover what Jobbsprånget can do for you

Anuja now works at AstraZeneca thanks to her participation in the Jobbsprånget program. Photo: Supplied

‘It all happened very fast!’: Pouya’s experience 

Pouya, an aerospace engineer, told us that he turned to the Jobbsprånget program after his wife obtained a position at a Stockholm university.

“I was accepted to the program at the end of January, and my internship started at the beginning of March. I completed my internship at Volvo in Gothenburg. It all happened very fast!” 

Pouya is enthusiastic about the flexibility and freedom his internship afforded him. 

“I began talking to my manager about future opportunities. I was able to say to my manager, ‘I like this job, but I also need experience in other areas’.

“I didn’t have automotive industry experience, so there was a lot for me to learn. Once I was at Volvo, I started talking to different people in different roles to find out what they were doing, and to discover the best position for me.   

“I was working as a design engineer, so I asked my manager to give me the chance to join other teams as well. He was very supportive and immediately  talked to another manager in the Computer Aided Engineering team, and I was able to gain valuable experience there.”

Pouya was also able to learn about Swedish workplace culture, and help his co-workers understand more of his. 

“I spent a lot of time learning about Swedish culture – particularly over ‘fika’. During these breaks I was able to communicate with everybody on my teams and talk about culture, language and what’s going on in society. I was able to learn about my co-workers, and I could share a bit of myself, too.”

Currently working on one of Volvo’s design teams, Pouya also has overwhelmingly positive reflections on his Jobbsprånget experience. 

“I had a great experience with Jobbsprånget. In some cases, you might not have experience of a particular industry, and this program is ideal in providing that. It helped me immensely and gave me the opportunity to network and make real connections.”

Anuja and some successful Jobbsprånget participants. Photo: Suppled

Pouya gained valuable automotive industry experience during his Jobbsprånget internship. Photo: Supplied

The fast track to a Swedish career

From workplace skills and understanding of new technologies, to the invaluable insights regarding Swedish culture you can only get during a ‘fika’ break, the Jobbsprånget program is an ideal tool for academics, researchers and other skilled workers arriving in Sweden from outside the EU/EEA.

Jobbsprånget’s fixed-term, state-supported internships give those who may otherwise have trouble accessing the Swedish job market the kind of valuable experience and insight that makes them an attractive proposition to local employers. In fact, 70% of Jobbsprånget participants receive a job upon conclusion of their internship.

If you come from outside the EU/EEA, have a college degree in engineering, IT, architecture, business, communication, HR or science, as well as hold a valid Swedish work permit, you could be eligible for the program. 

Currently, there is an additional program focused at Ukrainian refugees, that can be applied for separately. 

Following completion of an online application, an interview will begin your path to an exciting opportunity in a Swedish workplace if an employer is interested in your profile. Many applicants find a position with an employer shortly afterwards, and some are working within two months.

With the next application period commencing July 16, now is the ideal time to consider Jobbsprånget as your springboard to a career in Sweden.

Take part in the program connecting employers and newcomer professionals – apply at the Jobbsprånget website commencing July 16 

For members


How will the new work permit law just passed in Sweden affect foreigners?

The government's work permit overhaul, designed among other things, to reduce the number of talented foreign workers being deported due to minor paperwork issues, passed in Sweden's parliament on Wednesday, meaning it will come into force on June 1st.

How will the new work permit law just passed in Sweden affect foreigners?

The overhaul, which Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced in December shortly after she was elected, is designed to crack down on so-called kompetensutvisningar or “talent deportations” and provide a new visa for highly-educated job seekers wanting to apply for work in Sweden.

The bill will also require those seeking permits to have a signed contract from an employer, and to be able to show they are able to support any family members they bring to Sweden with them.  

What is in the proposal?

The proposal includes a new work permit for “some highly qualified individuals” to come to Sweden in order to seek work or start a business, as well as a proposal targeting talent deportations, stating that work permits do not need to be recalled in cases with “minor cases of deviation” from work permit laws, or “if revoking the work permit does not seem reasonable in light of the circumstances”.

In addition to this, work permits will only be issued to applicants who already have a job contract, employers will be liable to report to authorities if the terms of employment are changed and become less favourable, and employers will be subject to fines if they do not provide written information to the Migration Agency about the applicant’s terms of employment.

Furthermore, work permit holders wishing to bring family with them will need to prove that they can provide for their family members, and human trafficking laws will be altered to make it easier to prosecute people who have given false information in order to receive a work permit.

Who will be affected by the new law?

The new law will only affect non-EU citizens wishing to work in Sweden, as EU citizens in Sweden for work are issued permits under EU law, rather than Swedish law.

The law will not affect existing work permits, but could apply when existing permits expire and applicants reply for a renewal or extension.

Why were the opposition parties against the proposal?

Although the proposal is likely to be approved, this does not mean that the opposition parties were in total agreement. Over 50 motions were raised by opposition parties in response to the proposal, all of which have been rejected.

These included suggestions from the Moderates, the Sweden Democrats and the Christian Democrats advocating for a minimum salary requirement, meaning that applicants would need to earn above a certain amount in order to qualify for a work permit.

Under current rules, applicants only need to earn a minimum of 13,000 kronor per month in order to fulfil legal criteria for having enough money to support themselves. The Moderates believe this amount should be around 27,500 kronor per month, or around 85 percent of the average Swedish salary (32,000 kronor per month).

The Christian Democrats believe this lower limit should be 35,000 kronor – previously, they had stated 30,000 kronor was sufficient – with exceptions for lower-paid professions – such as nurses and other healthcare personnel – requiring foreign labour.

What will happen now?

The law is proposed to go into effect on June 1st, 2022. Before this date, work permits will continue to be issued under the current rules.

Depending on what happens in September’s election, a new government could decide to implement further reforms, which, if approved, would be unlikely to come into effect before 2023.

Will this actually help prevent talent deportations?

According to Amelie Berg, senior legal adviser at the Confederation for Swedish Enterprise, specialising in the labour market and work environment law, it will.

“We’ve noted that ‘talent deportations’ already began to diminish a few years ago, primarily due to several new rulings from the Migration Court of Appeal,” she told The Local.

“This has led to a more permissive application of the requirements. We still welcome the proposals and our assessment is that they will further reduce the risk of unjust deportations, especially in combination with each other.”

However, the proposal is far from perfect. “We advocate a well-functioning system for labour migration and burdensome regulations putting excessive demands on either companies or employees, which in practice are difficult to meet, are not a part of that,” Berg said.

One example of this is the new requirement that permit applicants must have a signed contract before they can apply for a work permit.

“We believe that the requirement to provide a signed employment contract ahead of actually applying for a work permit will be both practically difficult and not in line with neither regular procedures nor legal requirements when hiring,” she said.

The proposal that work permit holders must be able to provide for any family members wishing to join them in Sweden may also cause issues. “The new requirement regarding the demand that labour migrants who bring their family must show that they can provide for the family’s livelihood is unclear and may be difficult to meet for many labour migrants,” Berg said.