Sweden has recently gained a large amount of international attention thanks to a certain US head of state, President Donald Trump. Well, his comments showed Sweden as suffering from and struggling with loose immigration policy, leading to social unrest and rampant crime.
However, the statements have left Swedes perplexed. How come? Most people actually living in Sweden are seeing economic progress, increased general well-being and a continued high level of public service! There are, of course, some issues with large scale immigration but they are mostly bureaucratic, things like lengthening time it takes to process an application for residency, as the staff are dealing with a big pile of applications now.
Let’s hope that all publicity is good publicity!
In light of this, here are five steps you should take to make your move go well:
1. Apply for a course at a university or get a job – before arriving here
Pretty much anyone can stay for 3 months in Sweden without much hassle. But¸ if you're going to secure residency you must apply for a residence permit. Finding work can be very difficult until you're actually settled in. Becoming a student is often an easy way to bridge the gap. Sweden has lots of universities, many of which offer free courses. This could be your best way to move to Sweden.
2. Secure a place to stay
These days, there are lots of ways that you can find a home, be it permanent or temporary. The classic way has always been to register with the public housing queues. These can be found through the website of the municipality you want to live in. However, due to the recent housing shortage, the wait can be long. A quicker alternative might be to check the availability of sublet apartments through sites such as Blocket or Airbnb. Be aware that subletting rentals are formally not accepted and such a lease might not give you much security. A better option might be a cheap hostel.
3. Register yourself in the Swedish population register
This is the key to receive your own personal identity number. Without a personal number (personnummer), it will be almost impossible to obtain a bank account, register with authorities and deal with every day life. Remember step one? Once you have your residency permit, all you need to do is bring your permit and your passport to Skatteverket. Getting registered will be a cinch!
4. Get yourself a bank account
Having a Swedish bank account, preferably with an associated debit or credit card, is a must. It's the way to receive salary, benefits and deal with every day life. Also, many of the payment services that are in use in Sweden DO NOT accept cards that are associated with foreign bank accounts. This is something that many learn the hard way. So, do not put off dealing with this.
5. Enjoy yourself!
The key to fitting in with Swedish society is to become part of it. Forget waiting until someone lets you in. You will have to forge your own way. Do not be shy about practicing your Swedish and dive into every activity that is offered.
Joining us at New in Sweden is probably a good idea too... :)
About the blog
Interesting bits and pieces about life in Sweden, including all-important song words.