Work in Sweden
A few years ago, I suddenly received a call from a recruiter with a proposal to work in Sweden in a “well-funded startup” (it is funny that he found my resume on Odesk, where I had a profile for a long time, but not a single completed project). I must tell you that in this country I already had to work earlier, however, being on a lengthy business trip, as an employee of a Russian company, therefore I already had a good idea of life in Sweden. Since then I have acquired children, and therefore many of the realities of Swedish life I had to discover for the first time.
By the way, the recruiter sent me a funny video about Stockholm , which has not lost its relevance to this day.
After talking with the recruiter, they sent me a test task, and after it was completed, there was a skype interview with HR and the technical director. In my opinion, I couldn’t show up at the technical interview, but the Swedes were quite happy with it, and I received an offer with the following conditions (by the way, many Swedish “well-funded startups” now offer similar conditions): work in the central part of Stockholm, help with applying for a visa and renting an apartment, paying tickets for the whole family, 1000 euros for lifting (I write all prices below in euros for ease of perception, especially since the kroon rate to the euro has been relatively “round” in recent years), buying equipment to work in mkah 2000 euros, a smartphone with a paid contract, gym payment, 30 calendar days of leave, additional medical and life insurance, additional pension accruals.
After thinking for a while, I decided to change the situation :) The whole visa application process took about two months, no particularly exotic documents were required, the whole family had to go to Moscow for a biometric work visa (and you can submit fingerprints and pick up a finished visa only there), however, later I learned about the existence of a visa hack, with which you can get a work visa while already in Sweden. The apartment had to be selected remotely, from photographs. Based on previous experience, I already knew that you should not waddle when choosing an apartment - the demand greatly exceeds supply, and therefore I approved the option of a three-room apartment for 1200 euros per month, relatively far from work (45-50 minutes), but on an idyllic island and next to the forest.
Upon arrival, we handed in documents for a local ID-card, which is required to open a bank account and arrange many other things, and I went to work, where they gave me the computer hardware I ordered and the phone. It is worth noting that many Swedish IT companies are multinational and the communication language in them is English. For example, in the company where I started work, there are more foreigners than Swedes, and my team - the backend - did not have a single Swede at all, but there were Turks, Italians, Romanians, Indians, Russians and Armenians. The company was experiencing a period of rapid user base growth (100 million users at that time, almost 300 million now), and the old, written by the founding fathers, PHP backend barely cope with the load. We had to drag him to Java microservices,
A little distracted by the description of the salary-costing realities of Sweden. The Internet claims that the average salary in Swedish IT is 58,000 USD / Year / Gross, or 4,000 euros per month, which seems to be true. The tax depends on the place of residence, and for Stockholm now it is about 30%. Subtract from the remaining approximate cost of rental housing (600 euros per room, 900-1400 for 1-3k apartment) and get ... not so much. Is it possible for a family of 4 to live on it? Of course you can :)
The cost of food-clothing is quite at the level of Moscow or St. Petersburg.
Most likely, you will not have expenses for a car here - they are not particularly necessary, Stockholm transport works very efficiently and conveniently, if you have small children, you can move around with a stroller without having to perform the deeds of Hercules every minute. The cost of medicine for adults is minimal, 30 euros for one visit to the doctor, until your costs exceed 130 euros per year, after which the calls are already free. Medical procedures, even complex ones, are free, but sometimes they have to wait, say, a month. Children's medicine is free, including all medicines , dental procedures, and even the manufacture of glasses.
Having a baby in a separate room with a toilet and shower in Russia now costs quite interesting money. How much does it cost in Sweden? Not at all.
You pay only for joint stay of the spouse in the ward about 50 euros per day. Including feeding! I note that the question of where to put other children at this time also does not arise, it is customary to stay with the whole family in the hospital :). Kindergartens are free, but may charge a small fee for part of the day if one of the parents does not work. Additionally, you can be collected once a year 15 euros, for a gift to teachers. Schools are free, including all office supplies, trips, excursions and meals (some Swedes admitted to me that they remember school years with gratitude for tasty and plentiful food). Buying special school clothes is not required. Replaceable shoes are not required, in the classroom children walk in socks. The extension is paid, but more than compensated by child allowances (100 euros per child per month).
And even for a child who came from another country before the age of eight, you can take almost a year of maternity leave.
If you are a young non-family man and rarely get sick, you may wonder: “What good is all this freebie for me?” No use.
Sweden is not a very profitable country for singles.
The maximum benefit from the social system is given to families with children, especially when both parents work.
Well, back to the biography. A typical ID card waiting time is two weeks, but you can start looking for a kindergarten or school even earlier if you can’t wait. In general, in different municipalities there are different ways to enroll in a school or kindergarten. As a rule, this is a kind of “public services portal” where you select 5 options from the list and wait for an answer. The answer may be “we take you”, or maybe “you are in the queue, your place ...”. If the queues are everywhere, you should choose the other 5 options. Usually the place in the kindergarten is fast. Kindergartens are private, usually with a small number of children, but for you they are as free as state ones. Usually children from one and a half years old are handed over to kindergarten. To school - from six (zero, optional class).
The entire training system is well adapted to children without knowledge of the Swedish language (as much as possible for the older classes).
In case of difficulties, the school will provide free accompaniment of the child to the translator for the period of adaptation. Anyway, you can order a free translator for any official meetings with teachers (and doctors). However, the vast majority of Swedes are fluent in English. If your child is 11 years old and does not speak English, then it is better to send him to school at the Russian Embassy (paid). By the way, in a Swedish school a foreign student can optionally take additional free native language lessons. We got to a Swedish school somewhere a couple of weeks after sending the application, and it turned out longer with the kindergarten just because we did not immediately realize to expand the circle of searches. You can go to any garden in which there are empty seats, and stay in line, waiting for the best options. Looking ahead, I’ll say
Well, if the child gets sick, then he just stays at home with one of the parents and the missed working day is paid by the Swedish insurance system (not 100%). Providing a "sick leave" is not required. After recovery, the child simply goes to school or kindergarten again. Generally there is no concept of a "medical certificate in kindergarten". And no one will ask you to sit at home if the child is slightly coughing or snotty. I note that the Swedes generally rarely get sick and this also applies to children.
By the way, Sweden is one of those countries where a child of about eight years old can go to school alone. And one to come back. And walk unattended by adults. Just like in the USSR ...
Probably the first thing people notice when leaving the airport is clean air, but they often remember it with nostalgia when they are in some other country. In the summer, despite the northern sun, it is very easy to get a tan - there is no familiar urban haze that scatters the sun's rays. Large tracts of forest are relatively close to any area of the city. Hares, roe deer, and sometimes foxes wander into the streets. There are a lot of blueberries and lingonberries in the forests, hiking trails are marked. There are very interesting mountain bike trails. Near the houses, cherries, plums, and apple trees are often planted. And almost no one collects them.
Is it boring in Sweden?
Stockholm offers the usual metropolitan entertainment set, as a rule, people who have moved have complained about the loss of social circle.
Acquaintance by itself will not arise, unless you are by nature a sociable and charismatic person.
Conscious work on establishing and maintaining connections is very useful for you for both entertainment and career. Usually it is easier to make new acquaintances among fellow expatriates than among Swedes.
How does it work there?
In Sweden, they joke that only here you can hear : “I will stay at work today, do not wait until 18”. Typical working day from 8..9-17. As a rule, at 16:30 people begin to disperse. The more foreigners there are in the company, the more it is customary to stay there at work - they cannot get rid of bad habits :). In general, a very relaxed pace of work, emotional conflicts are rare.
The hierarchy in companies is weak, fewer people tell you what to do.
The initiative is seen and encouraged. It is very useful not to keep dissatisfaction with, say, some processes in the company, but to constructively convey them to the management, for example, by “catching the director” of a button.
Yes, there is such a letter. Of course, it’s not as scary as the Russian media like to write about it. A freebie, but you can have a normal standard of living only if you work. And visitors learn the language (free), get an education (free), find work, somehow integrate into society. Everyone has different chances. But somewhere in this policy, mistakes have been made. The city has areas with a predominantly immigrant population and it does not please anyone.
And if you want to change jobs?
The first visa is issued for two years and is assigned to the employer (the spouse's visa does not have such a restriction). The second biennial visa already allows you to freely change jobs. But in general, work can be changed even on the first visa - just in this case, the new employer needs a few more gestures. It’s easy to find a good IT specialist while in Stockholm, as a rule, a LinkedIn profile attracts many recruiters. What do wives do? The first thing to decide is which language to learn, Swedish or English. It is quite possible for an IT specialist to do without Swedish. The rest is better to go to free courses, if approached responsibly, then for a year it is quite possible to achieve an acceptable level. Then you can start looking for work, if the specialty allows, or you can go to get Swedish higher education.
Having lived for two years in Sweden, many are thinking about buying an apartment. In general, in the country there is a queue for housing, (in fact, this is social rent), and it is quite possible to get an apartment in a year or two in line. Only here it will be by local standards somewhere very far away - an hour and a half to the center. And it’s hard to find the usual rental from the owner.
In Stockholm, expensive housing (~ 250k euros for 2-3kk), you should get out in some other city, and you can find the same thing twice as cheap.
To purchase, it is enough to have a permanent job and save 15% of the price of the apartment. Typical mortgage rates 1.45-1.65%, until recently, most buyers paid only interest and did not pay the cost of the property itself. The real estate market is very lively, if anything, it is not difficult to sell an apartment. At the same time, taxes are paid only if sold with profit (and did not spend this money on the purchase of other housing).
And even further?
After 4 years of work, an unlimited visa is issued, after another year you can get citizenship. Refuse from the Russian is not required.