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 work in Sweden coming 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 life and work 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

Work in Sweden: How Cool Company will help you

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, we give you an overview over how Cool Company will help you with work in Sweden:

  • We take care of client payments.
  • We handle all tax deductions and social contributions.
  • We issue a monthly paycheck to you.
  • We sponsor work permits for non-EU freelancers including UK nationals.
  • We will help set up contracts and provide personal support 24/7.

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 Sweden, you must apply for a work permit prior to your arrival in the country.
  • 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.

Women working from desk

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.

The tax residency rule and work in Sweden

Tax residency plays an important role when you try to figure out your tax rates in Sweden. As a rule, you become a Swedish tax resident after staying over 183 days a year in the country. Other factors that might determine your residency status are owning assets or properties such as a house in Sweden.

Note: As a tax resident in Sweden, you will pay a higher tax rate and be taxed on your worldwide income.

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.

Work 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”).