How to get employed in Sweden as a Ukrainian
The current situation in Ukraine is terrible. As a result of the ongoing war, a growing number of Ukrainians are immigrating to Sweden. Many have sought international protection, especially temporary protection, according to the Swedish Migration Agency.
There are many matters to be aware of if employers want to employ Ukrainian citizens. If you are a Ukrainian citizen and wonder how to enter the local job market, here are some guidelines on how to get employed in Sweden.
1. Apply for a residence permit in Sweden
If you hold a biometric Ukrainian passport, you can travel to and stay in Sweden visa-free for three months. If you plan to stay in Sweden for more than three months, you can apply for a residence permit with temporary protection. If you do not meet the requirements for residence permit with temporary protection but still need protection in Sweden, you can apply for asylum instead. Another option is to apply for a residence permit on grounds such as family ties to Sweden, studies or existing employment in Sweden.
According to the Swedish Migration Agency, temporary protection applications are processed considerably faster than asylum applications and are recommended for Ukrainians fleeing the war. Residence permits granted based on temporary protection are valid until 4 March 2023. If the security situation in Ukraine has not improved by then, the Swedish Migration Agency can decide to extend the permit.
To apply for a Swedish residence permit with protection, you must currently be in Sweden. You can register your application online or by visiting the Swedish Migration Agency in person. To be entitled to a residence permit with temporary protection the following requirements need to be met.
You are a Ukrainian citizen and were a resident of Ukraine prior to 24 February 2022, or
You had a status or residence permit as a person in need of protection in Ukraine prior to 24 February, or
You are a family member of someone who falls into one of the two described above, or
You have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine and lived there prior to 24 February 2022 and cannot return to your country of origin in a safe way.
To be covered by the Temporary Protection Directive, you must have come to Sweden on 30 October 2021 or later and have remained in Sweden since you entered the country. You must also have a passport or other identification documents that show that you belong to one of these groups.
If you are going to work in Sweden for less than 3 months (seasonal work) you should still apply for a residence permit under the Temporary Protection Directive and not a work permit for seasonal workers. The Swedish Migration Agency is currently rejecting applications for seasonal work from people who are resident in Ukraine as they are covered by the Temporary Protection Directive (which also includes seasonal work). If you come to Sweden and are granted a permit under the Temporary Protection Directive, you have the right to work (including seasonal work) for as long as the permit is valid.
2. Waiting for decision
At the moment of publication of this information, the Swedish Migration Agency states that it takes a few days to receive a decision after having submitted the application for protection under the Temporary Protection Directive. The Migration Agency will send a letter to the address you provided in your application, and it may also take a few days for the letter to reach you. Whilst waiting for the decision you should start looking for work if you do not have confirmed employment yet. You can search vacancies on for example employment service websites, newspapers, or social media. Just remember that you do not have the right to work until you have received a decision on your residence permit.
Keep in mind that the Swedish Migration Agency does not currently make negative decisions on applications by Ukrainians that would entail removal from Sweden. However, persons who have committed certain criminal offences (such as war crimes or other serious crimes), or who pose a threat to the security of Sweden, cannot be granted a residence permit under the Temporary Protection Directive.
3. After the decision
When you have received the decision that your residence permit has been granted based on temporary protection, you can start working in Sweden. You will receive a residence permit card (UT card) that is valid until 4 March 2023 and that shows you have a residence permit on grounds of temporary protection and that you have the right to work. Once you have received a decision, you are also entitled to housing and certain financial support from the Swedish Migration Agency.
The Swedish Migration Agency will in first instance grant persons from Ukraine a residence permit in accordance with the Temporary Protection Directive. If you do not meet the requirements for a permit in accordance with the Temporary Protection Directive but still need protection, you can apply for asylum. An application for asylum is always examined individually and it may take a long time to receive a decision
4. Apply for jobs
When searching for a job in Sweden, you can contact the Swedish Public Employment Service, search databases (for example job.blocket.se or jobbsafari.se or monster.se), look for open jobs at company homepages or send spontaneous applications and CV to companies within your field of expertise.
Refugees must be treated equally with other employees in terms of pay and other working conditions. Find out the average wage in the sector you are applying for.
5. Sign the employment contract
After you have been chosen for a position, always ask for a written employment contract with your employer.
Make sure that you have understood the terms of the contract before signing it. The contract shall be in written form, so do not agree to a verbal employment contract.
From the stated (gross) salary, taxes are withheld. Therefore, the sum received is lower than the stated salary amount. It is preferred that salary is paid to a bank account, if this is not possible, always sign a receipt on the paid salary amount. The normal pay day for salaries in Sweden is the 25th of each month.
More information can be found on the following Swedish government websites:
Swedish Public Employment Service
Swedish Work Environment Authority (only in Swedish)