Tag archives for Migrationsverket

Visa Approved! + 5 Tips for Finding a Job in Sweden

Whahooo! My visa has been approved and I am traveling to Sweden at the end of the week. This is such great news and I am very excited.

I went from months of this…

No Decision Made message


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…to this!

Decision Made Message

I ended up waiting three months for the work and residence visas to be approved. Depending on who you talk to, this is either a short amount of time or a long amount of time. The waiting time was supposed to have been shortened after some immigration reform in 2008 but there seem to be other snags in the process now.

In the end it took a great amount of political pressure and the CEO of the company really went to bat for me. This is discouraging because not every company can do that. Also, not every company can wait three, four, five months for an open position to be filled. Not every CEO knows someone at the Migration Board. And even though we had a giant “in,” at times it almost seemed like it worked against us (which is to say, government employees not wanting to be pushed). As I mentioned in a previous post, my application also got held up because we failed to get the union’s permission along the way and we had to hurry to do that at the end. In other words, we were not able to skip any steps or anything.

4 steps to working in Sweden graphic

Sweden.se offers info on the 4 steps to working in Sweden...


A reader of this blog asked how one goes about finding a job in Sweden. Here are 5 tips:

#1 It’s the usual story. Network, network, network. Tell anyone you know with the slimmest of connections to Sweden that you are looking for work.

#2 Learn Swedish. Many job announcements want you to be fluent in Swedish and English.

#3 Subscribe to job alerts at job websites (you can customize what sort of jobs you want to receive alerts about). For example, I receive a daily alert about Monster.com jobs located in Uppsala, Sweden. Sites I have used include:

Monster.com (in Swedish)
The Local.com has lots of job ads
Step Stone
Eures (European Public Employment Services)
Vakanser.se (in Swedish)

Sweden.se has a plethora of information about how to go about working in Sweden. Here’s a good article on the steps you need to take to find a job.

#4 You can translate any job announcement into English (or your native language) using Google Translate. Either click the link right in Google Search to translate the page or paste the content into Google Translate directly.

#5 Create a spreadsheet and keep careful track of where you have applied and what the response was.  Don’t give up! Keep trying!



Network to find a job in Sweden! Photo by: Image Bank Sweden


The Scandinavian School in San Francisco

Little girl walking

Photo by: Spenatmamman (CC BY NC SA)

As I wait for my Swedish work visa to be approved, I am exploring some of the Swedish cultural opportunities available here in San Francisco.

On October 8th, the 2011 Achievement Awards were presented by the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce San Francisco/Silicon Valley. The awards included the Business Achievement Award, the Women’s Award, and Cultural Award.

The Scandinavian School in San Francisco won the Cultural Award.

Helena Bjerneby from the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce said that the school won the prize “for spreading Scandinavian culture through creative play and activities, and making the learning process both fun and enriching.”  Read more » >>

Notes from the Ground to the Swedish Migration Board

Switchboard operators at work

This is how it feels, trying to get the work visa. I keep twirling dials and pressing buttons
…someday soon it will appear! Photo by: BiblioArchives (CC BY NC SA)

It’s been nearly 12 weeks since I applied for my work visa. My boss was told that my application is at the top of the list and that we are just waiting for union approval. (In order to grant a Swedish work permit to someone from outside the EU, the relevant trade union must be given the opportunity to express an opinion on the terms of employment.)

Twelve weeks is a long time for a company with an open position to wait to fill it. I have worried for months that the company that offered me a position would change their mind because of the fact that the visa is taking longer than their HR person thought it would (and because of the plummeting world economy). But so far they have stuck with me and we are in the final stretch.

The Stockholm software company I will work for is a small company. But big companies recently got some good news when it comes to hiring foreigners according to a recent article in The Local. The article said that the Swedish Migration Board is starting a new program that will cut processing times for work visas by permitting major companies to handle the process on their own.

Companies like IKEA and Ericsson won’t have to go through the Migration Board but will be able to process both applicants and the union approvals on their own. “[Big] companies don’t have time to wait,” Jonas Lindgren at the Migration Board told The Local.

The companies that will be allowed to handle the process on their own must regularly process at least 50 new employees per year. “This means that in the beginning, the new system will only affect around 500 of the Board’s annual 30,000 cases.”

But what about the smaller companies and their needs? And what about us employees?

My feedback to the Swedish Migration Board…

  • It’s not how long it takes but rather the lack of transparency in the visa application process that is difficult. In other words, it would help a lot if both the company and the future employee were updated on how the visa process is progressing so that the employee, at least, can plan his/her large transition.
  • The obtuse “No decision has been made on your case in the last month” message when you input your application number is really off-putting.
  • For those of us in the US, why can we only call the Swedish Embassy (located in Washington, D.C.) office during one morning hour, several days a week? For those of us on the West Coast, that hour is between 8AM and 9AM which falls during my commute hour. But the embassy doesn’t know much about the visa status anyway. Instead, they recommend you call the Migration Board in Sweden.
  • Calling the Migration Board in Sweden is even more difficult. They are open between 8AM and 4PM. With the 9-hour time difference, that means I can really only call when they first open, which is 11PM at night for me. Plus, my boss has been calling them weekly and rarely getting through so what are my chances of getting any kind of answer or even an estimate of how much longer it will take?


Jumping Without a Net

Women Jumping In Water

Well, at least these gals have water! (Photo by: Derek Key (CC BY NC SA)


So, here I sit in San Francisco, counting on the idea that I will be granted a work visa to work in Sweden soon. I am hoping it will happen by the first of November.

I received a job offer from an industrial software company in Stockholm in August. I will work as a Marketing Writer and Technical Writer for the company whose business language is American English. They need help re-writing their website content and other collateral, as well as interviewing clients for white papers, writing technical manuals, and other tasks.

It’s been nine weeks since the HR department helped me apply to the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) for my visas. At this point, I know nothing about how it’s progressing. I was assigned a number and I daily enter it into the Board’s website where you can check the progress of your application but all it ever shows is this enigmatic message:  Read more » >>