Sweden is one of the most amazing countries located within the Scandinavian peninsula to the North of Europe. It plays host to immigrant communities from virtually every part of the world. The culture, topography, cuisine, history and seasons within Sweden makes it a place worth visiting. Anyone with legal documents can travel across the country’s borders at any time from its vast cities stretching from Kiruna to the North and Jönköping in the South. Just like other countries in the Scandinavia, Sweden has a rich socio-political history and a strong social system which makes it stand out as a destination. Someone with an ambition to pursue higher education in Sweden can easily make an application to Study in Sweden and identify the most suitable university and course to pursue. The education in Sweden is world class hence the admission process is highly competitive. Requirements for acceptance to study at a Swedish university depend on the region from which the applicant comes. The common categorizations of applicant destinations are European Union, European Economic Zone, Australia, Canada and the rest of the world. An applicant from some of these categories of regions need to pay an upfront application fee before they are considered for admission. It is important to always check the requirements before sending a study application.
Sweden also embraces immigrants who move to the country ostensibly offer goods and services in the Swedish market. Just like in any country, anyone intending to establish a business in Sweden must first contact the relevant state agencies to provide necessary clearance and obtain the relevant authorization. Importantly, doing business in Sweden means that a person must first hold a valid proof of legal residence and complete the business registrations that clearly show the nature of business. Until such procedures for travel and establishment of a business as a foreigner in Sweden are completed, any such activity is considered illegal and the person is liable for fines, repatriation or other forms of punishments as provided for under the state regulations and international agreements. It is worth noting beforehand that Sweden’s economic environment and cities such as Stockholm provides a good commercial environment for a competitive business to thrive. International immigrants can also move to Sweden on working permits in Sweden. It is necessary to check all the requirements needed to process such work permits, the expected wage rates, work environment and the other important social-economic factors therein. Every details about getting travel clearance to Sweden are critical in ensuring a smooth transit to the country.
With the correct documentation and clearance to travel to Sweden, the next point of attention is knowing the socio-cultural and economic environment there. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a Prime minister and a Monarch. The system has ensured political stability which allows the citizens as well as expatriates to thrive in various fields. According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, Sweden is among the top ten happiest countries in the world which means that the social welfare of everyone is adequately met. Just like in any other Scandinavian country, getting Swedish personal identity number also called personnummer once in Sweden is a critical step and a gateway to a full experience of the public services that the country has in store. It basically allows an individual to transact everyday businesses including opening a bank account or any form of subscriptions such as telephone or mobility.
Another basic step is to get proper housing which guarantees safety and privacy. Depending on the length of time one intends to be in Sweden, there are two options for housing which include buying a house and renting. It is important for an expat who intends to stay for a long period in Sweden to observe the disclaimer that unlike other European countries where getting accommodation is easy, housing in Sweden is considerably more difficult. Someone interested in renting needs to make prior arrangements with a housing agency before travelling or seek temporary housing from friends or relatives awaiting the competitive process of getting an apartment though normal application. This is the reason why a foreigner who has the financial ability and intention of living in Sweden for a longer period exceeding ten years can buy a house as a way of avoiding the troubles of black market for long-term leases. So many companies in Sweden have perfected in providing great value for inhabitants, while at the same time serving the respective municipalities, and offering good housing for everyone. Various websites offer expats access to available housing options in Sweden. They are reliable and centered on the fundamental understanding that housing is a basic human right. Typically, the housing companies offer a wide range of housing that meets the needs of everyone without any forms of discrimination on income, background, age and family situation. Nonetheless, getting a house in Sweden is very competitive and the rent prices are relatively higher than most of the European countries. On average, a monthly rent in Sweden for a one bedroom rented apartment can be up to SEK 12,000. This means that one needs to be extra vigilant to get a place that is more affordable as the average cost of rent can take up to 30% of every resident’s salary. For an expatriate without a ready employment, it is necessary to seek some form of work which is the only way to meet the cost of living in the country. One cannot afford to idle without work in Sweden since the cost of living is comparatively higher than the other Scandinavian countries. There are various Swedish job sites that one can check to get employment provided they can present the required documents showing they are allowed to work. Subsequently, one needs to Sign up for benefits at the Swedish Social insurance Agency which helps with benefits including basic healthcare, parental benefits, child allowances, disability coverage and other insurance payments. Again living in Sweden and earning any form of income comes with tax obligations which one must declare through registering with Skatteverket.
The Skatterverket is the Swedish tax authority which issues a registered person with an ID-card required to open a Swedish bank account. Notably, without a bank account, one cannot do most if not all transactions involving money.
Just like in all Scandinavian countries, Sweden is multiethnic with various languages being spoken but at the top of most interaction is the Swedish language. Therefore, one needs to learn Swedish as a means of gaining a successful integration and ease in everyday life. For an individual who has competency in English, it is possible to live comfortably with the Swedes since they are ranked the second best in speaking English as a second language. Nonetheless, the competency in Swedish knowledge of Swedish is important indication of full integration and a possible consideration when making determination for special stay such as permanent residence applications for Non-European Union expats.
Key to an enjoyable stay and life in Sweden is knowing the average cost of living in Sweden. The cost of living in Sweden largely depends on an individual’s buying choices, number of dependents and lifestyle. Nonetheless a typical total cost of living is SEK 8350 spread as follows SEK 4,070 for accommodation, SEK 550 local travel, Phone/internet fees-SEK 300, SEK 1,450 for miscellaneous expenses. An expatriate in Sweden needs to have a clear impression on what the daily expenditure in Sweden looks like. The prices and foods and drinks in Sweden vary depending on the specific outlet one buys them. However, the common foods include seafood, vegetables, coffee, snacks and other different cuisines. The most common drink in Sweden in beer. However, anyone intending to go out drinking in Sweden must be aware that drinking there can be expensive. One can cut the costs by forgoing bars and buying their drinks of choice from the state-run liquor shops.