Sweden is known for innovation and entrepreneurship. Despite being a fairly small country with a little over 10 million habitants, Sweden’s footprint on a global scale is quite impressive.
Let’s take a look:
This is the land of equality, with generous parental leave for both mother and father.
It is a country of free healthcare for all children up to 18 years old. Even as an adult the cost of insurance and healthcare is very affordable compared to in many other countries.
Free education provides you with many choices. You can even decide to get your master’s degree, without having to empty your savings account.
With that said, living costs in Sweden varies greatly from countryside to the cities. Depending on where in Sweden you choose to live – your work and family life may look very different.
Can I work in Sweden without speaking Swedish?
Many Swedes also speak English, so to get around there is no real need to know Swedish. However, even if you find an international company, knowing Swedish will give you an advantage.
After all, communicating in someone’s maternal language is like a key to that persons heart. To fully understand and integrate to the Swedish culture, learning the language is a must.
Also, if you work as a medical doctor, nurse, or optometrist – you actually need to prove you Swedish skills before getting your medical licence. The test will secure your proficiency in Swedish at a C1 level.
Learn Swedish with CureStaff
At CureStaff, we help healthcare professionals to learn Swedish, and receive their medical licence.
We have a great track record from hundreds of people – helping them to find their way to Sweden. At CureStaff they will learn Swedish, and finally passing the required test to work in the Swedish healthcare system.
How is work life in Sweden?
The work culture in Sweden is known to be disciplined, but with a good work-life-balance.
Even if Sweden – like most EU countries – do not have a minimum wage, salaries are sufficient to cover daily expenses. By special agreements through “kollektivavtal”, you are often eligible for a higher hourly pay during evenings, nights and weekend.
We have collected the most important aspects you should know when working in Sweden:
Labour Law in Sweden (arbetsrätt)
Labour laws are well evolved in Sweden, so it is important to understand what rights you have as an employee.
There are no minimum wages – if not regulated by a “kollektivavtal”.
A regular work week consists of 40 hours. You have paid breaks, but not lunch. Your job day will usually be between 9-10 hours depending on if you have to commute.
There is a private and a public sector in Sweden. As a healthcare professional you are usually employed by the regional public healthcare. However, there is an option for private healthcare.
Trade Unions (facket)
The Swedish job market has a long tradition of trade unions which goes all the way back to the 18th century. These unions are powerful, and they regulate many essential parts of the Swedish work market.
Around 70 percent of the Swedish population are members of a trade union. Trade unions are not to be confused with “kollektivavtal”, that apply to the whole work place, regardless if your a union member or not.
Kollektivavtal applies to all employees, even if you are not a union member. These agreements are settled between the employer and the employees. They cover essential aspects like pensions, insurance, fair wages and annual leave days – more than what is covered by the Swedish labour law.
9 benefits of working in Sweden
Let us take a look at the labour law to find out what kind of benefits that are waiting for you when having a permanent employment in Sweden.
At least 25 days of paid vacation.
Paid sick leave after the first day (karensavdrag).
Normally economic compensation when working nights or weekends (obekväm arbetstid).
480 days of paid parental leave.
Strongly regulated discrimination law. For example; an employer cannot discriminate against a job candidate because she is pregrant. The employer is not even allowed to ask about “pregency plans”. Even that is considered discriminating.
Open work climate for innovation and bringing out your own ideas. Hierarchies exists, but titles and other attributes have less value here than in many other countries.
That time off to study? Oh, yes! After six months as permanently employed, you can apply to have time off to study. The studies normally have to be related, or bring some kind of value, to your current job position.
Do not miss “fika”! This is the coffee break you should not miss. At many workplaces, fika is a holy moment. This is the time to get to know each other, talk about other things than work – and of course – enjoy a Swedish pastry or “bulle”.
Group consensus before individual claims. Sweden is know to be one of the most progressive and individualistic countries in the world. But even so, consensus is also something important to most Swedes. Open and loud discussions are normally regarded as a brute. Reaching a quiet agreement is much more preferred – especially in a professional environment.
Employment forms in Sweden
There are three types of employment in Sweden. Depending on what kind of employment you have, you will have access to more or fewer benefits.
Employment until further notice
“Tillsvidareanställning” This is the safest employment, giving you as an employee many rights as well as a notice period. Your notice period can span from one to six months, usually depending on your level of responsibility and the total time of employment. During your period of notice, you will enjoy the same benefits as when you are employed.
“tidsbegränsad anställning” This position has a set start and end date. It is very common for substitutions and seasonal recruitments. This is also the form of employment used when covering for someone being on maternal or paternal leave.
“provanställning” Since there is a need for clear evidence for an employer to fire an employee, you might be offered probation employment to start with. This gives both parties – the employer and the employee – up to six months to make sure everything is working well. During your probation employment, you have no notice period.
How do I obtain a work permit?
Before working in Sweden, you need a residence permit. To do this you need to contact the Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). They handle all cases related to immigration, permits, visas and citizenship.
You can get a temporary permit before arriving in Sweden. For example, if you choose to attend CureStaff’s courses, we will also help you to apply for a study and work permit.
“Personnummer” and BankID is needed for digital services
Sweden has well-developed digital services, so do not worry if your next hometown does not have a Migration Agency office. You have to have a Swedish personal number (personummer) to be able to use the digital services. This makes it possible to download and activate a digital identification application called BankID.
Working in Sweden as a healthcare professional
For many people moving to Sweden, working in healthcare is a great option. Are you already a licenced nurse? Have you worked as a dentist for many years and can prove your experience within the field?
Most medical professions are regulated and require a special medical licence. Notice that this process looks different if you are educated in a country outside of the EU/EEA.
To get your medical licence, you need to get approved by the Swedish authorities. They are mainly checking your educational background and prior work experience. Depending on your background you might also have to pass a language test, as well as a theoretical and practical assignment
Kunskapsprovet differs depending on your profession. There are 22 healthcare professions that require a licence (legitimation) to be able to work in Sweden.
Can foreign doctors work in Sweden?
All medical doctors need a Swedish medical licence. If you did your main education in another EU/EEA country, the process is simple. You have to apply for a medical licence online and pay the applicable fees.
If you got your education from outside of the EU/EEA, the next question is whether you have worked in another EU/EEA country for the past three years. If so, the same rules as above do apply.
If you are educated outside of the EU/EEA and have not worked in an EU/EEA country for the past three years, you need to qualify for a licence.
Learning Swedish at a C1 level is an essential part to get your licence. On the authority’s website, they state that it takes 2-4 years from submitting your education for assessment. But with CureStaff, you are able to get there within 12 months. Let us explain how.
Do you want to work in Sweden?
Sweden is a great country to work and live in. Easily combine your job with generous holidays together with your family and friends.
Medical doctors, nurses, and dentists are needed in Sweden. Since not enough people graduate with these educations, you will always have a job opportunity when moving to Sweden.
We want you to get the best possible start to your new journey! If you consider working in Sweden, contact CureStaff to get a successful start to your new life.