Work in Sweden

According to the Swedish Migration Agency, almost 50,000 people have requested a permit to work in Sweden in 2021. With its high standard of living, comprehensive welfare system, as well as good work-life balance Sweden is an attractive destination for many who seek a new job. The question remains: How do I work in Sweden?

If you plan to go and work in Sweden from the UK, figuring out new legislations and tax obligations can be overwhelming. In this article we explain what it means to be a contractor in Sweden, what challenges you might face and how Cool Company can make your career-life in Sweden much easier.

Need help getting started in Sweden’s northern neighbour? Read our guide “Work in Norway“.

A freelancer sitting outside sending invoices on her phone while smiling at a friend

How to work in Sweden with the help of Cool Company

International contractors who work in Sweden often struggle with staying compliant due to the country’s complicated immigration requirements and tax system. Before we go into the details on how to find work in Sweden, we give you an overview over what Cool Company can help you with:

  • We take care of client payments.
  • We handle all tax deductions and social contributions.
  • We issue a monthly paycheck to you.
  • We will help set up contracts and provide personal support.

Work permit in Sweden

EU and EEA nationals have the unrestricted right to work in Sweden without a visa or work permit. Due to the UK’s departure from the EU, the rules for UK citizens have changed on 1 January 2021:

  • You can travel to Sweden for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
  • If you want to work in the country, you must apply for a work permit prior to your arrival in Sweden.
  • In Sweden a work permit application must be accompanied by an employment offer from a Swedish employer or client. For contractors, this could be an umbrella company such as Cool Company.

How to apply for a Swedish work visa

You submit your application for a Swedish work visa either online or in paper to your nearest Swedish embassy or consulate. The application must include:

  • The completed application form
  • Copies of your passport
  • The offer of employment from a Swedish employer or client
  • The approvement from the Swedish trade union
  • An application fee

The Swedish Migration Agency will consider your application and if approved, grant your work permit. For more information on obtaining Sweden’s work visa visit the Swedish Institute (SI).

If you have your own limited company, you will have to apply for the self-employment residence permit in Sweden. This work visa requires the following:

  • You must own at least 50% of the company.
  • You must run the company.
  • You must show that all services or goods are produced and/or sold in Sweden.
  • You must have savings for two year’s living expenses.
  • You must have customer contacts in Sweden.

The Swedish permit is valid for two years; after this your company will be assessed for profit and viability.

Getting paid as a contractor in Sweden

Your payment when contracting in Sweden depends on whether you work as an independent sole trader, run your own limited company, or are employed by an umbrella company.

Working freelance in Sweden as a non-EU resident requires a work permit. You are also responsible for handling all contract details with your client. As an alternative you can start your own limited company in Sweden. In this case, you will need to apply for a selfemployment residence permit. The financial requirements for this pose a big hurdle for many (see above).

The easiest option if you want to work in Sweden is through an umbrella company such as Cool Company. By acting as an employer, we will significantly facilitate the process of obtaining a work permit. Furthermore, we will take care of all taxation, payments, and paperwork with your Swedish clients so you can fully concentrate on your work.

Pay taxes as a contractor in Sweden

As a self-employed contractor working in Sweden, you will have to file your tax returns. For this, you need to apply for F-tax and VAT registration with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). On top of that, you can, but are not required to, register with the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket).

Note: This does not apply if you stay less than six months in the country and do not establish a permanent business.

How to register with the Swedish Tax Agency

To register with the Swedish Tax Agency, you must visit your closest Tax Agency office in Sweden. You will be listed in the Swedish Population Register and receive a personal identity number (personnummer).

Going forward, you will receive an income tax return form, which you will have to review. The completed form can be submitted via app, by mail, SMS, or phone.

How to get a job in Sweden

The Swedish job market is among the strongest in the world. The easiest and most common way to find a job or contract is via one of the many Swedish online job portals and networks.

Skills in demand in Sweden

The Swedish Migration Agency together with the Employment Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes a list of professions with a labour shortage each year. The industries and sectors with the highest demand are:

  • Healthcare (doctors, midwifes, nurses)
  • Transport (buses, delivery drives, and taxis)
  • IT
  • Engineering (different specializations)

English-speaking jobs in Sweden

English is widely spoken and finding work in Sweden for English speakers is usually no problem. In fact, Sweden ranks fourth in Europe when it comes to English language skills according to the international EF English Proficiency Index. Still many jobs require at least some level of fluency in Swedish and securing assignments as a contractor might also be easier with a basic knowledge of the language.

What is it like to work in Sweden?

You will soon learn that a healthy work-life balance is important to Swedes. This can influence your work in Sweden as a contractor for you might have to consider your client’s flexible business days and hours. Also remember when dealing with a Swedish company that gender and class equality is very important in the workplace. Most businesses have a flat hierarchy; the dress code is often casual.

Working in Sweden without speaking Swedish

Working in Sweden without speaking Swedish is possible, especially in certain industries such as IT, finance, and engineering. Most people in Sweden understand English very well, although they are hesitant to speak English themselves. However, most jobs require at least some knowledge of the Swedish language, as it is the official language of the country and is used in most official communication and information.

Working in Sweden – FAQ

1. Can I work in Sweden after Brexit?

Yes, you can work in Sweden after Brexit. However, you are most likely required to apply for a work permit in Sweden. For more information, we recommend the UK government’s “Guidance to Living in Sweden” as well as the official site of the Swedish Migration Agency.

2. Can I work in Sweden with a British passport?

Yes, you can work in Sweden with a British passport. You will probably need to apply for a Swedish work permit, though. For more information, please have a look at the UK government’s “Guidance to Living in Sweden” and the official site of the Swedish Migration Agency.

3. Do I need a visa to work as a contractor in Sweden?

If you want to work in Sweden coming from the UK, you may need a work visa. Please check all changes following Brexit in the official information provided by the Swedish authorities.

4. Can I work in Sweden without speaking Swedish?

Yes, you can find many English-speaking jobs in Sweden. However, having some basic knowledge of the language will help you professionally and socially.

5. What jobs are in demand in Sweden?

As a contractor you will discover that jobs in IT or healthcare are in high demand in Sweden. For more information see above (“English-speaking jobs in Sweden”).