Contracting in Sweden: the latest developments

Contracting in Sweden

3rd February 2021

Known for its amazing green spaces, coffee, chocolate, flat-packed furniture store and, of course, pop music history, Sweden is certainly a destination that should be on the visit list for many individuals. However, it’s also a destination that holds a number of opportunities for contract professionals, particularly those within the pharmaceutical field.

So why should you consider contracting in Sweden?

The Swedish labour market is relatively underpinned by workers’ rights, with employee health and safety – whether for permanent or contract staff – a high priority for both employers and labour unions. In fact, it is so highly regarded that the country has its own government agency dedicated to employee wellbeing at work (the Swedish Work Environment Authority).

When we consider how valued workers’ rights are in the destination, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that equality is also key in the country. Through anti-discrimination legislation, the Swedish government has ensured that everyone has the right to be treated as equals, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.

For contractors travelling with family (where allowed and appropriate in the current climate) you’ll be pleased to know that your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can get a residence permit. Under this arrangement, your family members can go straight into work or study once you have relocated, though again, this is subject to Covid restrictions at the moment.

The country is also considered to be highly innovative, with the Global Innovation Index declaring it an innovation leader. For professionals from the ICT and energy fields, Sweden is considered to be on the cutting edge of sustainable and technological development, so it’s certainly worth considering the destination for a move in the future.

Covid restrictions still in place

While there are certainly a number of reasons to make a move to Sweden for work, the pandemic is continuing to impact travel for contract professionals.

At the time of writing, Sweden had closed its border with Norway until mid-February, with similar bans in place with Denmark and the UK as concerns regarding new strains of Coronavirus raged on.  Anyone visiting or returning home to Sweden who has travelled to the UK, Brazil, South Africa or Norway will also be required to stay at home for at least seven days. A Covid test on arrival and five days afterwards are also required.

However, it is important to add that Covid-related limitations on movement are constantly changing as authorities worldwide continue to battle the spread of the virus. As such, it’s highly advisable that contractors seek the latest information from the relevant government websites or from your expert contractor management team.

Contracting in Sweden: compliance challenges

Clearly Sweden has a wealth of appealing characteristics for contractors. However, operating compliantly in the destination is incredibly complex, with legislation regularly changing that will certainly impact contract professionals.

As a case in point, on 1st January 2021, new legislation was introduced for EU / EEA citizens who have been assigned by their employer to perform work for clients in Sweden. Previous legislation – or the “183-day rule” – which many employees were previously covered by, therefore ceased to apply at the beginning of the year.

As a result, if a foreign company does not have its own responsible team leader in the workplace (i.e. someone who takes responsibility for the workplace and work tools / materials at the employees’ disposal), the foreign company must pay income tax in Sweden for its employees. Exceptions apply if you work a maximum of 15 days three times during a calendar year, i.e. a total of a maximum of 45 days during a calendar year.

Seeking expert advice

While the above is just one example of recent changes to the employment landscape that contractors need to be aware of, operating compliantly in the location will be dependent on a number of caveats – including your country of origin, the sector you’ll be operating in and much more. As a result, we highly recommend that contract professionals seek expert guidance before any assignment to avoid potential penalties or criminal charges for simple mistakes or reporting errors.

The 6CATS International team has a wealth of global tax experience. As a result, we know that contractors working around the world will need the expertise to get the right compliant solution. We have both global reach and local knowledge at our disposal to provide you with compliant, effective, contracting solutions wherever you are working.

Our friendly and approachable team are always on hand to offer support and advice. With some of the most experienced professionals in the sector, we have a wealth of knowledge to draw upon and can advise on most countries around the world. In fact, we were awarded the Best International Contractor Provider for the second year in a row at the 2020 Contracting Awards.

Why not contact us today to find out how we can help you?


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