Employing people from countries outside the EU

The following information should prove helpful if you are planning to employ a citizen of a non-EU country. 

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Most citizens of non-EU countries need a work permit.

The great majority of citizens of non-EU countries need a permit to work in Sweden. They must apply for and obtain a permit before entering the country.

Citizens of certain countries also need a visaexternal link, opens in new window to work for less than three months.   

Employees of staffing companies that provide Swedish businesses with personnel and employees whose company stations them in Sweden need work permits as well.

Special regulations apply to certain occupations and citizens of certain countries.

Your responsibility as an employer

As an employer, you must check that the person you want to hire has the right to start working for you. You must also notify the Tax Agency that you have hired a person from a non-EU country.

Feel free to contact the Migration Board  if you are unsure about whether someone has the right to work for you.

Exemptions

The following groups of people do not have to apply for a permit to work in Sweden:

  • people who hold a permanent residence permit (PUT)
  • students who hold a residence permit to attend a college or university
  • visiting researchers who already have a special residence permit
  • asylum seekers who have received an exemption from the obligation to hold a work permit (AT-UND)
  • citizens of EU countries
  • citizens of Norway, Denmark, Finland or Iceland

Members of some occupations can go to Sweden and work without a permit for a limited period of time.

The general rule is that a person is to submit a work permit application in the country where they are living and that they cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. Under certain circumstances, however, the person may submit their application after entering Sweden.

Important information about sanctions against employers

As of 1 August 2013, a new EU directive is introduced, which means that employers that deliberately or due to negligence hire someone that does not have the right to stay or work in Sweden may have to pay a penalty, may have their rights to all public support, grants and benefits taken away for five years, or they may be ordered to repay previous grants and/or be sentenced to a fine or to prison.

Last updated: 26 May 2014