Moving to Sweden as a professional could well be the best decision a working-class individual can ever make. By far one of the most fantastic places to study, work or live. Sweden offers a lot of benefits besides being an exotic location to travel to.
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For one, an impeccable public service, a laid back approach to life, education which is free for legal immigrants as well, corporate culture second to none and last but not the least an amazing work-life balance. Moving to Europe by way of Sweden can be done without visa sponsorship.
This simply means that moving to Sweden without an employment contract or job offer is certainly a possibility. In fact, there are several visa categories that can be used to actualize this objective, thus getting you on your way in no time.
In this article, we highlight visa routes that can be exploited by global professionals’ intent on moving to Sweden for work without the need of a job offer. We will seek to buttress the requirements and different processes that make the application protocol.
Do You Need A Job Offer Before Moving To Sweden As A Professional?
In moving to Sweden for work, you definitely need to be employed by a Swedish employer before you can be granted a work visa. However, there are visa routes that circumvents this requirement, even though the ease of accessing these options depends on the applicant’s country.
People from European union member countries or countries in the European economic area are free to travel to Sweden without a job offer and when in the country, then they can begin the process of finding work. This category of applicants have it made.
Non-EU citizens on the other hand will need to take advantage of one of 2 visa sub-classes to be granted access to the country while recognizing their status as professionals. In contemplating the visa class to choose, applicants must be mindful of the period permissible to stay in Sweden for before they apply.
Procedure For Moving To Sweden As A EU Citizen
People who are citizens of a EU country or from countries located in a European economic area are not required to contend with migration agencies. When they enter Sweden, they are only mandated to create an account with the national population register and an ID from the Swedish tax agency.
Both above listed requirements are mandatory. Failure to meet any of them after entering Sweden will class the individual/individuals as illegals residing within the borders of Sweden. Thus, efforts should be made to sought out these registrations as soon as possible.
Procedure For Moving To Sweden As A Non-EU Citizen
It is easy to deduce at this point that the process of relocation for professionals who are from non-EU countries is quite different compared to what is obtainable in the case of EU citizens. Unless the individual is moving to Sweden for studies, he/she is required to apply for a work permit first.
To be granted a work visa to Sweden, potential beneficiaries are required to secured a job offer with companies located in Sweden. This process isn’t as straight forward as it sounds and will be interrogated further down below.
How Job Openings Are Handled In Sweden
Employers in Sweden are required by law to post vacant jobs within their shores first. If these positions are hard to fill up, then they are mandated to find suitable applicants in other countries located in the European union.
In event that the above 2 steps are taken and the positions are still vacant, then they are opened to applicants located in non-EU countries. This is done to prove that the hiring process was competitive and local and sub-regional experts were first considered before going international.
Thus, competition for sponsorship jobs is very fierce, as even though the best candidates aren’t local, sub-regional, applicants vying for jobs in Sweden have to compete for places with their contemporaries applying from other non-EU countries.
However, in April 2022 a couple of visa categories were introduced that now makes it easy for expats to relocate to Sweden in a professional capacity, find jobs while within the Swede borders and then change their visa class after that.
Upon securing a jobs in Sweden, applicants are required to get a work permit and if relocating with family, members are eligible to apply for residence permits as well. All of which can be done simultaneously or one after the other.
What Is The Salary Expectation For People Moving To Sweden?
Just like Norway, Sweden is one of the most popular destinations for professionals interested in moving to countries in Europe for work. Ranked 7th by way of human development index, this makes this country one of the highest in terms of remuneration as well as one of the best places to live in.
Visa Classes For Those Interested In Moving To Sweden
Whether you are interested in moving to Sweden from USA, the UK or any other country for that matter as a professional, it is important to note that there are a number of ways to get this done without a job. Below is a list of visa routes that can be secured to make this a possible:
Sweden Job Seeker Visa
This is a visa category for highly skilled individuals interested in relocating to Sweden to seek out job opportunities as well as start businesses. It is both a visa and residence permit, consequently beneficiaries do not need to apply for the later.
This visa sub-class came into effect in the summer of 2022, it authorizes recipients to stay in Sweden for a period of 3 to 9 months, the whole time looking for Swede employers open to having them fill up vacant positions in their companies.
Sweden had been experiencing skill shortage for awhile now, this dates back to periods before the pandemic. This has affected key sectors such as the hospitality, information & technology and healthcare sectors, even after the pandemic, this demand for skilled manpower still remains.
With Sweden seeking highly skilled professionals to fill up a lot of vacant positions, the Job seeker visa becomes a no brainer for people from non-EU countries who are interested in moving to Sweden for work. They can simply travel to the country and while there, look for work or start a business.
Swedish Job Seeker Visa Criteria For Eligibility
There are strict criteria for eligibility that must be met, if applicants are expected to be granted a Swedish job seeker visa. This includes:
- Submitting a masters degree or higher degree certification
- Consent letter authorizing the Swedish council for higher education to liaise with educational authorities in the applicant’s country towards verifying all submitted academic documents
- Availability of funds to cover all expenses associated with the application process
- A plan in the form of a cover letter that details the applicant’s mission to Sweden whether to seek employment or to start a business
- A comprehensive health insurance policy must be taken out, this shows that the applicant is equipped to deal with any unforeseen health emergency that might arise
- A valid passport that contains at least 2 blank pages
How To Apply For A Job Seeker Visa
Professionals interested in moving to Sweden with a job seeker visa can apply online or in-person through the consular section of the embassy or high commission of Sweden in their respective countries. Online applications should be submitted through the Swedish migration agency’s e-service.
Family members of primary applicants looking to travel to Sweden for studies are mandated to also apply for a residence permit. And be sure to include all supporting documents with their application forms. These documents can be found listed on the reverse side of the individual application.
The ICT permit is for professionals who seek a transfer to the Swedish branch of the company they work for outside the European union. It must be stressed that this permit only applies to non-EU residents. The ICT permit is only issued to managers and core specialists.
All applicants for this permit are required to submit personal documents as well as have their employers do the same, to maintain their status of eligibility for the ICT permit.
Unlike the job seeker visa, the ICT permit offers residence status that can be extended for up to 3 years, if the applicant works as a manager or a specialist. It the potential beneficiary is a trainee, his/her permit can be extended for up to one year.
Swedish ICT Permit Criteria For Eligibility
There are strict criteria for eligibility that has to be met or applicants for this permit will not be granted. These criteria varies per country, however the core ones are;
- A valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
- Manager, specialist or trainee must have worked with the branch of the company for at least 90 days without interruption before a permit application can be submitted
- The applicant must have the prerequisite skill and experience to work as a manager, specialist or trainee
- Must have an employment contract from the previous branch located in the applicant’s home country
- The applicant must show evidence that he/she is a seasoned professional who has worked in other companies in the same industry
- Proof of qualification for the occupied position from a renowned body, if the profession is regulated.
How To Apply For An ICT Permit
Individuals interested in applying for an ICT permit are required to have their employer send a copy of the employment contract offered them at the start of their work with the company. They are mandated to provide proof of remuneration that surpasses or at least is equal to that acceptable under the Swedish collective agreement.
The terms of employment laid out by the employer should be equal to that that holds sway in Sweden for Swedish employees. The position should offer more than enough compensation that would see the employee able to look after himself/herself while in Sweden.
The employment offer or contract submitted by the employer should have the name as well as the address of the employer, the date in which the employee was employed outside Sweden. The city in Sweden where the employee will be stationed.
Work detail that the employee will handle when in Sweden and all benefits/salaries that accrue to the position. If the potential beneficiary is a trainee, then the title or professional designation of the position must be stated.
Moving to Sweden as a professional without a job offer is possible for self-employed individuals. This category of people do not even need to apply for any form of permit and can stay in Sweden for up to 3 months, after which they are required to apply for a self-employment visa.
Usually a self-employment visa could take as long as 3 months to be processed and collected by an applicant. This also applies to people from EU/EEA countries who plan on moving to Sweden with a self-employment visa.
Swedish Self-Employment Visa Criteria For Eligibility
Not every entrepreneur or business owner is eligible to apply for the self-employment visa to Sweden. The list of requirements highlighted below has all the criteria for eligibility.
- A valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
- Previous business experience and an extensive background check into the applicant’s field of expertise
- Proof of language proficiency (Swede or English)
- Proof of business ownership and management
- Proof that all goods/services delivered or produced by the business originates from Sweden
- Evidence of financial sustainability showing that the applicant can support himself/herself for the first 2 years of moving to Sweden
- Proof of existing network of customers that patronizes the business in Sweden
Recipients of the self-employment visa are usually placed on a 2-year probationary period, during which they constantly have to proof that their business is financially stable. They also are expected to demonstrate that they can support themselves and their families.
It is worthy of note that all financial statements are calculated based on the Swedish national income support standard plus housing cost.
Entrepreneurs and would be business owners interested in moving to Sweden from the UK, U.S or any part of the world, should take note that a proof of funds with closing balance of 200,000 SEK is required for individuals, 100,000 SEK if moving with a partner and 50,000 SEK for each child, if moving with children.
How To Apply For A Self-Employment Visa
Interested individuals are advised to submit their applications to the Swedish embassy or high commission located in their country of origin, if they are first time applicants. Just like with regular work permits, they will be required to pay an application cost of 2,000 SEK which is equivalent to 200 USD.
Processing Time For The Self-Employment Visa
It usually takes between 10 to 15 months for a self-employment visa application to be processed and decision communicated to respective applicants.
Spouse and Family Visa
A spouse and family visa is another route that is accessible to people interested in moving to Sweden without a job offer. Also known as a residence visa, it is designed for individuals who are married, partners or children of Swedish citizens or residents.
To qualify to submit an application for the spouse/family visa, potential beneficiaries have to be legally married or should have been in a legal union with a partner who is a Swedish resident for a fixed amount of time.
Swedish Spouse And Family Visa Criteria For Eligibility
To be eligible for the spouse and family visa, applicants are required to meet strict criteria for eligibility. This includes;
- A valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
- Certificate of legal union or its equivalent (for married couples and registered legal partners)
Married people are required to submit a certificate of population registration, a tenancy agreement or a proof of purchase of shared housing or any other form of documents that proves a status of shared housing.
The above documentary requirement for married people is to show that the applicant has been living together with his/her partner who is a legal resident of Sweden. Thus, on documents such as the tenancy agreement, the names on the deed must translate to dual ownership of both parties in the marriage.
How To Apply For A Swedish Spouse And Family Visa
All potential beneficiaries of this visa class must be 18 years old or older. It is also vital that all applicants interested in the Swedish spouse and family visa fill an online application. There are mandatory supporting documents that should accompany each online application. Such as;
- An application fee which must be paid using a MasterCard or Visa
- Photocopies or scanned copies of all required documents must be attached
Finding a job After Moving To Sweden
It quite different when expats are already in Sweden, compared to those trying to have a look in from their respective countries. Finding a job after moving to Sweden is relatively easy. All the individual need do is browse job listings posted by the government.
It is important to note that there is a skill shortage in the country, this is the reason why the government takes proactive steps in sourcing high quality manpower that they can bring into Sweden. Thus, every professional coming into the country has a pretty good chance of landing a job.
Accessing the Swedish Public Employment Service website (Arbetsförmedlingen), is one of the means of getting support, advice and information on how to land the perfect jobs in Sweden. There are other private recruitment companies whose websites have listings of jobs in Sweden.
However, most of these human resource websites are in Swedish, so applicants must use the translate function on their web browsers to translate the text on these sites. Making sure that their CVs are ready to be uploaded.
Whether moving to Sweden with a job seeker visa, ICT permit, self-employment visa or a spouse & family visa, coming into the country as an expat with no job offer is now a possibility. All the applicant need do is choose the right visa route that matches his/her requirement.
And then there is the means of applying, online or in-person and then the documents that are expected to be submitted for the applicant to be vetted. Those who are seen to have met the criteria for eligibility will be granted entry into Sweden.
Upon entering the country, it is important to begin the job hunt, because if ones visa validity elapses, he/she will have to leave the country and apply for a fresh visa to be granted permission to come back in. So, time must be used wisely.
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