How to employ a Ukrainian in Sweden

Authors: Sara van Helleputte, Fondia, Susanne Enger, Fondia, Jolande Svensson-Klijn, Global Goes Local and Ylva Hökerberg Jahnke, Global Goes Local.

On 4 March 2022, the EU member states decided to activate the Temporary Protection Directive for refugees fleeing Ukraine. This means that persons who were resident in Ukraine until 24th February 2022 and have left Ukraine and came to Sweden on 30th October 2021 or later, and have been in Sweden since they arrived, can get immediate protection and a temporary residence permit.

The temporary residence permit gives Ukrainians the opportunity to get help with finding housing, the right to work, the right to seek basic care, the right to schooling for children, and certain financial support in Sweden.

To apply for a Swedish residence permit with protection under the Temporary Protection Directive, the person must currently be in Sweden. The application can be made online or by visiting the Swedish Migration Agency in person. The decision to activate the directive will remain in force until 4 March 2023.

Due to the current situation in Ukraine, the number of Ukrainians arriving in Sweden is growing rapidly. The Swedish Migration Agency estimates that approximately 75 000 refugees may arrive in Sweden from Ukraine this year. The number of employment contracts signed with Ukrainians will therefore increase. People with temporary protection can work without restrictions in Sweden.

Here is an overview of the actions an employer should consider when hiring a Ukrainian:

1. Make sure that the employee has the right to work in Sweden

The employer is obligated to ensure that the foreign employee has the right to work in Sweden. The right to work can be checked on the residence permit card. If the employee does not have a valid residence permit or if the employee’s right to work is restricted, for example to work in another profession, the employer cannot employ them until they have been issued the appropriate residence permit.

Ukrainians that have been entitled a residence permit with temporary protection in Sweden under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive will receive a residence permit card (UT card) as proof of the residence permit. This shows that the person is entitled to work in Sweden. The residence permit will be valid until 4 March 2023 and if the security situation in Ukraine has not improved by then, the Swedish Migration Agency can decide to extend the permit.

In addition to temporary protection, those who have fled Ukraine can also apply for other residence permits on other grounds such as to work, study, or live with their family that already lives in Sweden. In those cases, the application normally needs to be submitted from outside Sweden and the decision must be received before entering Sweden.

Ukrainian citizens with biometric national passports or Schengen visas can stay in Sweden for 90 days and do not need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency following entry if the 90 days have not passed. However, a passport alone does not entitle them to work. To be entitled to work, either a Swedish residence permit with protection under the Temporary Protection Directive is needed, an asylum with the permission to work or a work permit.

Employers that want to employ Ukrainian citizens permanently and want to apply for a work permit can under certain conditions be registered under certification and make use of the fast-track process with the Swedish Migration Agency. This means that the employer receives a decision on work permit applications within 10-20 working days from submission of the application instead of several months.

2. Prepare and sign the employment contract

Always sign a written employment contract. It shall be in a language both parties can understand.

Refugees must be treated equally with other employees in terms of pay and other working conditions. If the company is bound by collective bargaining agreement, it applies also to the refugee.

3. Ask for the employee's bank account number and report to tax authority

The salary must be paid into the bank account indicated by the employee. With each paycheck, provide a pay slip as for other employees.

Salary can only be paid in cash if there is a compelling reason, for example, if the employee does not have a bank account. For salary paid in cash, the employer must have a receipt or other proof of payment signed by the employee.

The employer shall report the employment to the Swedish tax authority.

4. Give the foreign employee a proper induction

Give guidance to the employee about working conditions, the labor law standards applicable to them, the safety and health care of employees, and fire safety requirements. Again, a language that the employee understands is important for a competent induction.

5. Storing personal data

The data to be stored by the employer about the refugee must follow applicable privacy laws governing the relationship between employer and employees and the policies on the workplace.

Fondia's legal experts are always ready to answer your questions about employment law and to help with other legal issues. Fondia’s work and residence permit partner Global Goes Local can assist employers and their future employees with work permit applications. Global Goes Local is certified by the Swedish Migration Agency and has access to the fast-track process.

For legal consultation regarding work and residence permits, please 

For legal consultation regarding employment law matters (employment agreements etc), please contact:

More information can be found on the following websites:

Swedish Migration Agency

Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)

Swedish Work Environment Authority (in Swedish)

Swedish Gender Equality Agency