Working in Sweden

How to find a job or start your own business, networking tips, and understanding taxes in Sweden.

Register at Swedish Public Employment Service (AF Arbetsförmedlingen)

If you are looking for a job in Sweden it is very important that you register at the Swedish employment agency, called Arbetsförmedlingen as soon as you can. Arbetsförmedlingen will gladly assist you in finding a representative to speak to about tailoring a specific plan for you. You will be allocated a specific contact person depending entirely on your profession, current situation and where you live.
In addition to this you are, via Arbetsförmedlingen, given the opportunity to meet with a job coach. This contact person can assist you in finding employment and can provide information regarding the Swedish and/or Danish job markets.
  • On their website you can find vacancies in Platsbanken. Most jobs are in Swedish, but in the free text you can search for different jobs by typing a word in English.
  • On their website, you can also find links to other websites concerning vacancies, including the English language site thelocal.se
  • Please read about extra support offered by Arbetsförmedlingen here and here.
  • From Arbetsförmedlingens’s website you have a link to EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.
N.B: If you are an EU citizen and at the time of your move unemployed within the EU, please contact your local EURES adviser before the move to find out if you are entitled to any benefits from your previous country. For more information, see here.


Join the Kick-start Program for job-seeking partners at Lund International Citizen Hub (LICH)

Are you looking for a job but feel you do not get any further? Would you like to increase your knowledge about the job market and what employers are looking for? Do you need some tips on how to widen your network and how to conduct yourself in an interview? Then the LICH Kick-Start Program is for you!
ESS in collaboration with the Cross Border Science and Society project offer a Kick-Start Program aiming to provide you with useful tools that will increase the opportunity to reach the job market. The program comprises different institutions, companies and individuals that give support, inspiration and shared experience in how to find employment. You will also have the opportunity to get individual guidance and assistance in setting your own personal goal in order to increase your chances to gainful employment.
For more information, please contact Lisa Andersson, LICH, at lisa.andersson [at] lund.se or Susanne Mattsson, Invest in Skåne at susanne.mattsson [at] skane.com. Do not forget to check out LICH's website where you find plenty of useful information and tips of events: http://www.internationalcitizenhub.com.

Register at Recruitment Companies

Register your general CV and cover letter on all or some of the following websites:
All positions:
Management positions:
There are other specialised recruitment agencies, which are easy to find on Google. Just look up the Swedish word for the area of your expertise and write that in addition to the word "rekrytering".
Create match-mails from the mentioned websites that have that service.
If you feel like calling a recruitment company for a follow-up after having registered your profile, then please go ahead. Some will just tell you that they will contact you if your profile is suitable for a position, and some might chat with you for a while which means you have the opportunity to introduce yourself further. A tip is to prepare beforehand what you want to discuss, so that you can present your competence and the position you are for in under 2 minutes.

Visit Company Websites to Find Open Positions

Search for jobs at the different job sites mentioned above, but also directly on the websites of companies which you find interesting. When you find a position that interests you, send in your general CV, but make a unique application letter for each position you apply for where you highlight the essential experience you have that matches what they are looking for. Try avoiding sending out general application letters as that might be seen as lack of interest in the advertised job.

Register on Linked-in

When looking for employment in Sweden, Linked-in is an important site to be registered on. Linked-in helps you by boosting visibility and allows you to creatively market yourself. The site also gives you daily tips about interesting job opportunities in your area. Connect to all your business contacts, friends and acquaintances. Update your status and let everyone know that you are available for new challenges, or send individual emails to people in your network and let them know you would be interested in hearing more about any opportunities that might arise. Ask for references on Linked-in. So please register your CV on Linked-in and join the ESS spouses’ Linked-in page.
Please note that EURES is also on Linked-in. Search for “EURES Sweden”, “EURES Sweden – Tech Group”, “Nurses for Sweden EURES Sweden” and "Life Science Specialists for the Öresund Region”, if any of these groups might be of interest.

Join ESS Partners’ Job Seeking Group on Facebook

If you are interested in employment, do not forget to register at our job seeking group on Facebook.

Send your CV to the ESS Human Resources Division

You can send your updated CV to the ESS Human Resources Division. With your permission, HR can distribute it as much as possible among its own networks. You are welcome to e-mail your CV to agneta.carlekrantz [at] esss.se (Agneta Carlekrantz). Please keep in mind that although HR will spread your CV as much as possible, we cannot guarantee employment for partners.


  • If you are interested in working, it is extremely important to network. One way to get valuable connections is to join a local Rotary club, e.g. Lund International Rotary Club and Malmö International Rotary Club
  • A big business network that you might be interested in is BNI
  • Another one is Toastermasters Europe @ Ideon, where you besides networking have the chance to improve your speaking skills.
  • Please also visit Malmö Business.
  • Try going to seminars and gatherings to network face-to-face. This is a good way to meet new people, expand your network and other's awareness of you.

Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

If you have an academic exam from abroad and are looking for job within your competence area in Sweden, you should do a recognition of your foreign qualifications by the Swedish "Universitets- och Högskolerådet". You will find more information here: http://www.uhr.se/
If you have a profession within healthcare and is looking for a job within your competence area in Sweden, you must follow a defined process before you can get your Swedish license from "Socialstyrelsen". Examples of professions that need a Swedish license are e.g. doctors, nurses, mid-wifes, dentists etc. You will find more information here: http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/applicationforswedishlicencetopractiseeea
If you are a teacher or pre-school teacher and is looking for a job within your profession in Sweden, The Swedish National Agency for Education ("Skolverket") take decisions on registration of teachers and preschool teachers. You will find more information here: http://www.skolverket.se/om-skolverket/andra-sprak-och-lattlast/in-english/teachers-registration

Starting Your Own Business

If you are interested in starting up your own company in Sweden, contacting one of the two companies below is a good place to start. You can also contact the Swedish placement service, Arbetsförmedlingen.
Nyföretagarcenter Syd, NFCS, works with free consultations for those looking to start up their own businesses and also entrepreneurs with a relatively new company. They can help with ideas regarding the business concept and give advice on how to proceed in different matters. NFCS is independent and neutral in relation to established companies, banks and government agencies. NFCS wants to help in any way possible. They aim to give constructive and helpful feedback to all, and to be the guide that many new entrepreneurs need.
"Almi's vision is to create opportunities for all viable ideas and companies to be developed. With our advisory service, loans, venture capital and incubation, we have customers in all commercial phases, from ideas to successful companies.” 
Information for Lund:
Scheelevägen 15
Direct Phone: 08-709 89 00
E-mail: info.skane [at] almi.se
Information for Malmö:
Baltzarsgatan 22
Direct Phone: 040-660 39 00
E-mail: info.skane [at] almi.se

Additional Important Advice

  • Be open to positions that are below your current competence level while you learn Swedish. That way you will not feel completely exhausted learning a new language and getting adjusted to a new culture while you also push yourself to perform well like you would have done in your home country.
  • If you do not intend to learn Swedish, apply for positions with the larger companies in the region and also in Copenhagen (for EU-citizens).
  • There are classes you can take while waiting for the right opportunity. Please visit www.folkuniversitetet.se or www.medborgarskolan.se to see what paid classes they can offer. Or why not sign up for some free courses at one of the universities in Malmö or Lund?  Excellent opportunity to meet new people, network and learn something new at the same time. More information and links under chapter “Studying in southern Sweden”.
  • Please remember that finding a new job can take time and in itself be a full-time job, so do not give up!

Unemployment Insurance (A-kassa)

Unemployment insurance is in Swedish called Arbetslöshetskassa, or A-kassa. It is a private insurance you voluntarily sign up for yourself. There are several to choose between in the market, often determined by your profession. Many graduates with a university degree is part of AEA, Akademikernas erkända A-kassa. Different insurance companies have different regulations, but you must always be registered unemployed at Arbetsförmedlingen, meet the conditions for work and been a fund member and have been in membership for at least 12 months. You do not have to be a member of any union to sign up for an unemployment insurance. If you get a time-limited employment in Swedish, we recommend you to sign up for an unemployment insurance to get financial support when the time-limited employment ends.
If you have worked in Sweden and meet the conditions for work, and are registered unemployed at Arbetsförmedlingen without having an unemployment insurance, you are covered by unemployment insurance financed by the government. The governmental financed payments are a basic rate. The unemployment insurance payment is based on your previous salary.
For both payments, please read more here: http://iaf.se/English/.

Taxes in Sweden

Sweden has a 25% value added tax or consumption tax which is high from an international standpoint. But high taxes are not necessarily high, if you are getting your money’s worth.
At the pre-visit during the 2nd interview you will get an individual, international tax consultation. Collection of taxes is the duty of the Tax Agency. Taxes go to the state, the county councils and the municipalities, and are used to pay society’s expenses for things like education, care, defense and public administration. Much of the tax is returned in the form of pensions and benefits of various kinds.
When you work, ESS deducts tax before you get your salary. Your salary slip shows how much your tax is. ESS pays this amount of tax to the Tax Agency every month. At the same time, ESS pays in employer contributions for each employee. When you have worked for 12 months, you will get an income statement from ESS at the beginning of the following year. ESS sends the same information to the Tax Agency. In April the Tax Agency sends you a self-assessment (tax return) form. You must hand in your tax return to the Tax Agency not later than May 2nd. In the middle of June or after the summer the Tax Agency will notify you of the result of the check. You will also be told if you have paid too little tax or will be getting money back.

‘Normal’ Swedish income tax
The income tax withdrawn from your salary by ESS depends on your base salary and what municipality you live in.
To read more about different tax tables and tax rates, please click here.
Tax relief for foreign key personnel (‘Expert Tax’)
Foreign key personnel include scientists, researchers, technicians, specialists and others. One main criterion for qualifying for the tax relief on these grounds is that Swedes with the foreigner's skills or talents are impossible or extremely difficult to recruit in Sweden.
The main feature of Sweden's tax relief legislation will provide a 25 percent reduction of taxable income of a foreign key person. This means that a key foreign individual's income tax will be based on only 75 percent of his or her income.
The reduction will apply to the first three years of employment in Sweden. However, foreign key personnel may reside in Sweden up to five years. Individuals qualifying for tax relief may not be Swedish citizens. An individual who has been a resident in Sweden during any of the five years prior to the start of the assignment in Sweden does not qualify for tax relief status.
To read more about Expert Tax, please click here.
Special income tax if you work in Sweden and reside abroad (SINK-tax)
Those liable for SINK-tax are persons resident or domiciled abroad. They must receive income based on work in Sweden and this income must be liable for tax under the Special Income Tax for Non-Residents Act (1991:586).
If you are employed at ESS and are qualified for Installation allowance, it will be paid before you move to Sweden, taxed with SINK-tax. If you are employed at ESS in Lund and decide to live in Copenhagen/Denmark and commute to Sweden, you will most probably be taxed with SINK-tax.
To read more about SINK-tax, please click here.
Swedish taxes and the high standard of living
The Swedish welfare system — often referred to internationally as The Swedish Model — can be described as providing lifetime benefits for all citizens. It is a social and economic system whose guiding principles are full employment, equal pay for equal work and the collective welfare of society as a whole. Salaries are comparable with other industrialized countries and Swedish residents enjoy a very high quality of life, consistently placing Sweden near the top of the United Nations Human Development Index.
To read more about taxation in general in Sweden, please visit: Sweden.se, Moving to Southern Sweden, and Skatteverket, the Swedish tax agency.