Working in Sweden

Finding a job and working in Sweden is important. Most people in Sweden have full-time employment and the social system relies on each person to work and contribute to the social insurance, health care and pension systems.

This section has information about working in Sweden. For example, you can read about how to find a job, start your own business and how the Swedish labour market works.


Arbetsförmedlingen is a government agency whose task is to contribute to a well-functioning labour market. Arbetsförmedlingen helps job seekers find jobs and employers find new employees.

Paying tax

You have to pay tax on your salary when you have a job. Your employer also has to pay social insurance contributions. These are legal obligations, and they make your employment official, which has many advantages for you, including:

  • You get an official contract or a verification of employment.

  • You can get references for future jobs.

  • You get the right to paid holidays.

  • You get the right to paid parental leave.

  • You get insurance.

  • You accumulate retirement points.

  • You get paid if you are off sick.

  • You get paid if you have to stay at home to look after a sick child.

If you work without paying taxes, you get none of these advantages. You are also breaking the law, and risk being sentenced to up to two years in prison.

Introduction programme

Arbetsförmedlingen provides a special form of support for people who have just been granted a residence permit. This is known as the introduction programme, and its aim is for you to learn Swedish, find a job and start earning your own money as quickly as possible. You also have to become a part of civic life.

To participate in the programme you need to:

  • Be between 20 and 64 years old.

  • Have been granted a residence permit as a refugee or a quota refugee, require protection, or be a close relative of someone who is any of these.

Arbetsförmedlingen has produced short videos that explain what the introduction programme is.

What does IT include?

The activities included in your programme plan depend on your needs. You plan your activities together with Arbetsförmedlingen based on your previous experience and your interests.

However, the following activities are always included:

  • Swedish for Immigrants, SFI.

  • Introduction to Swedish society. This is a course that gives you fundamental knowledge about Swedish society.

  • Preparation for getting a job. This can include traineeships, for example. You can also get help to have your professional skills and training assessed, which is known as validation.

HOW LONG IS THE programme?

The activities in your programme plan are done for 40 hours each week. In most cases, you will take part in the introduction programme for 24 months.

In some cases, you may participate in the introduction programme for fewer hours per week or fewer months in total. This might be if you:

  • Are on parental leave for a few days every week.

  • Have a functional impairment.

  • Are ill and cannot participate for 40 hours a week.

Accelerated PROGRAM

You can signup for an accelerated employment access programme through a year of intensive studies and/or internships also known as 'Intensive Year'.

If you are new in Sweden and taking part in the Establishment Programme, the Intensive Year could be an opportunity for you. Over a period of one year, you can study at a fast pace or do an intensive full-time internship at a place of work, in combination with spare-time activities. The goal is for you to find a job quickly. Read more about the Intensive year on Arbetsförmedlingen’s website.

Introduction benefitS

You are entitled to receive money if you follow the plan in the introduction programme. This money is known as an introduction benefit.

You may also be entitled to various supplements:

  • If you have children you may be entitled to a supplementary introduction benefit.

  • If you live alone you may be entitled to a supplementary housing benefit.

Försäkringskassan is the authority that determines if you are entitled to benefits and also calculates how much you are entitled to. Read more about benefits and apply for them on Försäkringskassan’s website. The information is only available in Swedish.

Read more on Arbetsförmedlingen’s website about introductory benefits.

Compulsory education

Compulsory education applies to some new arrivals to Sweden. "Compulsory education" means that you need to get educated to improve your possibilities of getting a job. Read more here.