Wonnie, born in 1988 in Kingston, Canada

"When I was a child, I never reflected on the diversity in Canada."

– I started playing the violin when I was four years old. I hated it at the start! But when I was 14, it changed.

– When I was a child, I never reflected on diversity in Canada. In school, there was never any emphasis on people’s ethnicity or religion. When a classmate was away, we would hear that they were celebrating Ramadan or Pesach – and it was almost as if someone fasting was of no significance, but most of us were jealous because the person could escape school. The diversity was so obvious that I never thought about it until I moved from there. Because in comparison with Canada, I don’t think that diversity is particularly apparent in Sweden. It is seen more in Stockholm, but even here I’ve stood on a stage in front of 800 people – and have been the only one that wasn’t white.

– A Swedish musician I got to know thought that I should come to Sweden and audition for the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. I travelled to Stockholm and auditioned – and got the job. I was so happy. When I came here, I rented a room in a house with a family in Sundbyberg. They gave me a really good introduction to Sweden, invited me to Christmas celebrations and taught me "Helan går". Several colleagues in the  orchestra also invited me to their homes to celebrate Christmas. They are really genuinely thoughtful.

– Stockholm is an extremely beautiful city and I really love it here. I have no current future plans other than to stay. But when my friend who had a job in the same orchestra lifted his glass and said cheers for "the next 40 years", it gave me a start. The idea of staying in the same place for 40 years felt very scary. 

– At the same time, I don’t know where else I’d like to work. Konserthuset (Orchestra Hall) here in Stockholm is really great. I love my job and my colleagues are fantastic. Us orchestra musicians will move for the job. But you are extremely lucky if you can choose the city first. My friends who work in other places in the world like their jobs, but I really love my job. I miss it when I’m not there!

Migrant labourers

The five most common nationalities – approved first time applicants 2015

In 2015, 16,975 persons received a residence permit in Sweden. This number also includes migrant labourers, guest researchers, season labourers (like berry pickers), interns, au pairs and professional athletes.

The most common professions are agricultural assistants (including berry pickers), computer specialists and people working in the restaurant business. The "typical" worker is a computer specialist from India.

The permit needs to be approved before entering Sweden.

  • India 3,4525
  • Thailand 4,322
  • China 1,105
  • USA 853
  • Ukraine 719

An employee must have a work permit and a sufficiently high salary in order to be able to be granted a residence and work permit

An employee who is not a citizen of an EU country must show an offer of employment from an employer in Sweden. The permit must be ready before entry into Sweden.
The offer of employment must be enclosed with the application for the residence and work permit. The salary must be sufficiently high for the person to be able to take care of themselves. Asylum seekers and guest students also often have the right to work.

EU citizens do not need to apply for residence permits

EU citizens, who have sufficient means to support themselves through their own funds or employment, are entitled to live and work in Sweden without having to apply for a residence permit.
The Swedish Tax Agency will register the EU citizen and issue the ten-­digit personal identification number.

Last updated: 2017-12-12

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