The following texts are excerpts from the book Live and Work in Sweden. Be advised that any and all information therein is not necessarily provided in its original context and as such are only representative of the content of the book and should not be taken at face value. For the complete information please purchase the book. The reader bears the sole responsibility for any action or inaction which they may decide upon based on the information provided through the book or its excerpts.

Relocation / Immigration

Coming to Sweden from Another EU Country

The EU is a customs union, meaning that no customs duties are assessed when passing between member states. EU citizens are free to move normal household items across EU member state borders with no need for presenting paperwork to Tullverket (Customs). There are exceptions for animals, foodstuffs, tobacco, alcohol, medicines and firearms or other dangerous articles.

Coming to Sweden from Outside the EU

Sweden applies EU regulations based on the Schengen Agreement concerning people moving into the country from non-EU countries. There are special regulations that apply to certain household items, firearms, cars and pets when moving to Sweden. You need to make sure that you understand and have complied with all of the applicable rules before you ship anything to Sweden.


Finding permanent housing in Sweden can be quite difficult since Sweden, like many developed countries, suffers from a housing shortage. It is therefore often best to turn to an established relocation firm for assistance and advice regarding the Swedish housing market as soon as possible. The rental and the purchase of apartments and real-estate are also highly regulated through Swedish law. In this section we will go over the basic principles of Swedish property law and some of the pitfalls of the Swedish housing market.


As always when establishing oneself in a new country there are many matters to attend to, especially if one is traveling with one’s family. The Swedish model of schooling and welfare offers many possibilities, but it is also surrounded by various regulations which you need to be aware of to make the most of your stay in Sweden.

Integration and the Language

Recently Sweden has been receiving more and more immigrants from other parts of the world, both in the form of guest workers and refugees. Just by standing in line at the grocery store or taking a stroll downtown, in most cities in Sweden you can hear several languages spoken and see many people from a number of different backgrounds. Most nationalities are well represented here and there are many formal and informal networks and associations in the cities. We recommend that any expatriate family does their own research before the move, to find out about which networks and associations might suit them. It is also wise to find out more about what your chosen city has to offer and try to keep your expectations realistic.

School and Education

Sweden has a very long tradition of state funded education and some Swedish schools have offered a free education since the Middle Ages. Today all children with a Swedish residence have the right to a skolpeng (school voucher) provided by their home municipality, which is paid out to their school to finance their education. In most cases the pupil will be educated by a public school owned by their home municipality, but their parents can also choose to send them to an independent school or a specialized school in another municipality. Almost all basic education in Sweden is financed purely by the skolpeng, or by other types of public funds. The major exception is the private schools which, in addition to the skolpeng, also take out a tuition fee from the pupils' parents.

International Recognition of Degrees

There is no global system for school and university degrees, which can cause difficulties when moving to a new country. Many employers are happy to accept degrees from foreign jurisdictions, but when applying for certain work positions or further studies it might be necessary to have your official qualifications recognized by the local authorities.

Family Matters

Many expatriates in Sweden move here due to their partner being Swedish, and others bring their family along for the duration of a Swedish work assignment. In these cases it can be important to know the basics about Swedish family law, and its implications for international family relationships.

Business Immigration

Sweden reformed its labor immigration policy at the end of 2008, as a result of population ageing and a shortage of workers. Despite strict rules for non-EU citizens, Sweden appears to have the most open labor immigration system among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).1 Different rules apply to employees who are EU/EEA citizens as to those who are not. Special rules apply to citizens of the Nordic countries. EU/EEA Citizens The European Union, and by extension the EEA (the European Economic Area), is to a large extent built around the concept of free movement of goods, capital, people and services within the EU. However, there are certain limitations to this right and quite a few administrative conditions which need to be fulfilled. It is also important to note that the principles of free mobility only apply to the citizens and companies of the member states themselves. Non-EU/EEA Citizens Employers may recruit non-EU/EEA citizens in certain instances, and must offer employment conditions that are on par with the Collective Agreements in the industry or sector. The procedure to obtain a work permit is strict, and some non-EU/EEA citizens may also need a visa in order to enter Sweden. The India-Sweden Social Security Agreement Sweden and India signed a mutual social security agreement on 26 November 2012, and the agreement took effect 1 August 2014. For posted employees from India whose initial assignment in Sweden is to last between 12 and 24 months, the agreement provides a two-part coverage where the employee and their dependents are partially insured in both countries. Tax Breaks for Expats According to a recent publication on Revenue Statistics (2011) issued by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Sweden has the second highest tax-rate in the world, after Denmark. This high level of taxation is a real impediment to Sweden’s attractiveness on the labor market. In order to lower this high level of taxation and encourage foreign experts to take assignments in Sweden, several tax breaks have been created for expatriates. Updates and Proposals Proposals for new laws and regulations are put forth on a regular basis, both in the Swedish parliament and on an EU level. This section highlights some of the legal changes that are either being discussed or in the process of implementation, and how these may affect the affairs of foreign companies in Sweden.