Photographer: Ulf H Börjesson/ Sourced from: http://mediabank.visitstockholm.com
When you set up your Global Mobility/relocation policies, you want them to be solid and to serve as a useful tool for several years. But you may lack one key component in Sweden: Predictability of outcome and administrative matters being handled in a timely fashion. Lets look at five challenges, with the exceptions and solutions for how to prevent these costly setbacks by having structures in place to keep things moving quickly and legally.
The Swedish Migration Agency needs to operate according to its rules, however, sometimes they are not aware of the timelines of the other agencies involved. Relocation can be complicated and oftentimes the multifaceted details of a relocation can cause delays if all the agencies are not communicating properly. It can be difficult for a company to troubleshoot what can go wrong if they have not completed several multi-faceted Sweden relocations on their own.
When transferring foreign talent to Sweden, there is a logical chain of events that takes place for each person to integrate into Swedish society. We have been helping facilitate this process and are aware of almost every setback and oversight that can occur. Here we offer tips on how to prevent these costly setbacks by having structures in place to keep things moving quickly and legally.
First, government compliance needs to be addressed. A work and residence permit needs to be in place and also all the steps that follow with receiving a Residence Permit Card (RPC) and later the local registrations. Each registration step is entirely dependent on having fully completed the step before and no exceptions are made… At least not yet.
From a company perspective, a new team member needs to have a place to live, be fully compliant with the Migration Agency, tax authority and local registrations, and the employer should be able to pay out a salary.
TO PAY OUT A SALARY
Most companies’ administrative policies are dependent on the employee’s having received a Swedish Personal Number.
So what needs to be in place BEFORE you can even apply for the Swedish Personal number? The last two steps are necessary for all nationalities while the first point is for non-EU nationals.
- A Residence card is needed to get a
- Swedish Personal Number (PIN) is needed to get a
- National ID card.
Residence Permit Card is a requirement for non-Europeans. Currently, it can take weeks if not months to get an appointment at the Swedish Migration Agency to give Biometrics.
Only after having received a RPC card it’s possible to schedule an appointment go to the Tax Authority to register locally. This is where you encounter the next bottleneck, it’s hard to get appointments at the Tax Authority for local registrations and the turnaround for the Swedish Personal Number can also take weeks. They will tell you that the expected time to issue a personal number is 2-8 weeks which probably means that the temporary housing allowance will be overstayed. It also means if the stay can’t be extended then an Address Change will need to be made and not seldom a chase to get the information that a Swedish personal Number in fact been issued can take considerable resources and time to find out. The letter with the PIN will inevitably be delivered to the old address.
A national ID card is necessary to open a full-service bank account. It also requires an appointment to be booked and payment to be made from the employee’s origin, i.e. a foreign account, this has a varying degree of difficulty depending on which country you come from. From the US the cost of the transfer exceeds the fee for the card and after that … you guessed it, it can take a while to get a time slot to apply for the ID card.
EXCEPTION & SOLUTION
Pay a salary or provide a relocation allowance to survive on for at least 2 months.
Encourage your employees to complete the RPC procedure in their home country even when they are allowed to enter Sweden without the card in hand.
TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE
Many companies provide their employees with relocation services to help them get over all the hurdles when moving to a new country. This is a win win actually. The employee gets professional help and the company not only saves on internal resources and also outsources the risk of not being compliant.
The housing market is limited and fast action required. Landlords expect a fast decision, corporate leases, and upfront rental payments and typically a month’s deposit.
Employees without having received a bank account or a salary yet have a hard time paying and not seldom get stuck in costly temporary housing, or start couch surfing, or stay with friends.
EXCEPTION & SOLUTION
Set up a loan for the first month’s rent and deposit. We see more and more companies doing this in order to get talent on the ground into affordable housing.
TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
Banks are finding themselves being more and more regulated and we see that they are less and less likely to be customer oriented as the legislation is expecting them to know a lot more about their customers. Lengthy and not entirely straightforward forms needs to be filled in before they will review the application to open a bank account.
Money laundering checks and ID controls are heavy and create lengthy internal procedures which further delays getting a bank account that can make payments. Typically you can put in money into the account, which unfortunately isn’t helpful for rental payments or when you want to pay for your National ID card to get a full-service bank account. The banks are often cashless so making a direct payment at the bank means you have to find a bank that actually handles money.
EXCEPTION & SOLUTION
Not being able to pay out a salary is difficult for both the employer and employee. Is it possible to use REVOLUT or provide a local credit card where the salary payment can be deposited? Companies that have a good relationship with their own bank should lean on them to assist their employees. It’s not uncommon to negotiate better rates for mortgages, car loans, and free credit cards as a company.
TO SET UP UTILITY ACCOUNTS
A majority of utility companies require a Swedish Personal Number and often request a credit history of several months to set up services. Electricity and tenants insurance can be set up without a PIN the usually needs more than a name and address.
EXCEPTION & SOLUTION
Ask the landlord to keep the utility accounts in his/her name at least in the interim period or when it isn’t possible to take on the utility accounts as a company until all administrative details are done. For internet, many companies provide a wireless USB for their employees.
TO HAVE COMPLETE INSURANCE COVER For non-EU talent, there are stringent rules in regards to the employment terms. There are four mandatory insurances that need to be in place and when it is time to renew the work permit proof is requested that these insurances have been set up in a timely fashion (from the first few days of starting to work). Many companies have in recent years been the victims of losing foreign talent not only due to the internal lack of procedure but also by delays at Swedish Government Agencies and insurance companies.
Most insurance cover is constructed with the assumption that the public medical care and pension, etc. system will cover the basic level of coverage while the insurances will add something on top of the basic cover. Unless there is a basic cover the insurance companies won’t set up insurances. The Swedish Personal Number is the proof that such cover is in place and not rarely also needed for the company’s administrative system set up to actually be part of a pension scheme for instance.
EXCEPTION & SOLUTION
Pension cover can be backtracked and retroactively paid, while the loss of income, life insurance, and work-related injury must be in place. Take a look at international insurances and identify short-term solutions for coverage. We don’t know how employment terms will be viewed and qualified in two years when the permits for people arriving now are up for review.
Sweden has a talent shortage and more and more companies need to go outside the borders to find the skills needed to keep growing and developing. While it is clear that the challenges mentioned above require additional resources by companies, the time, money and effort is still necessary to have a plan on how to take care of it. We have a benchmark on how to best bring staff to Sweden and we know where you can shave off costs and where you can’t avoid it.