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 – 2017


In 2017, 32 294 people were granted residence and work permits in Sweden as employees or self-employed persons. This figure includes a permit for 8,629 persons as relatives of these.
Workers: 16 178 persons
Own entrepreneurs: 221 persons
Guest researcher: 1,222 people
International exchange / trainees / athletes: 2,440 people.

India 8,483 people
Thailand 3 512 people (berry picker)
China 2 226 people
USA 1 406 people
Ukraine 1 255 people

The most common professions are: computer specialists, agricultural assistants (including berry pickers), as well as in the restaurant industry or athletes. The "typical" worker is a data specialist from India or a Thai picking carrier for three months.

The most common sports are: soccer, ice hockey, basketball, bandy, volleyball. In order to get a license, the National Football Association must say okay.

The application can be made electronically with the work permit must be completed before entering Sweden.

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: 2018-03-01

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