How I left to work as a programmer in Sweden (Part 2)

    On Habré already wrote about how IT people move to London , San Francisco and some other foreign locations, and also very sensibly about emigration in general . To my surprise, I did not find a similar note about Sweden. Since I currently live in the glorious city of Stockholm and work for a Swedish company, I decided to rectify this situation.

    This is the second part of my story, the first part can be found here .

    Ireland, second run

    Around the same time as the Swedes, one of the Irish variants I worked out earlier worked. This was an announcement of hiring an iOS developer at Dublin, an international hostel booking company. These comrades showed interest in me about a month after I responded to their vacancy, so I already had time to forget about them. However, they organized a series of 3 or 4 telephone interviews with me (yes, the Irish also love to make phone calls, like their colleagues on the neighboring island).

    Two times I talked to a leading iOS developer named Peter. Peter turned out to be the cutest person, with a pronounced Irish accent, who was a little hiding in the way of telephone clutter on the way from Dublin across Europe to Tver. He was interested in, like the rest of his comrades, my experience, knowledge of frameworks in iOS development, design patterns, memory management and, perhaps, something else that I had already forgotten over the limitation of events.

    I also spoke with an HR manager named Kelly, who was mainly interested in organizational issues in the style of when I can come to them, how much I need to notify the current management of the dismissal, etc.

    For the Irish, I did a test task: an application that worked with the existing test API of their service. The emphasis in this application was mainly on the GUI, it was necessary to work out the interfaces qualitatively, while observing the list of requirements (which, for example, included the mandatory use of Storyboards).

    As in the case of the Swedes, the Irish liked my solution to the test task very much. And then, in their HR decision-making system, a (regular) failure occurred. Either one of the decision makers went on vacation, or something else happened, but they did not inform me of their decision by the dates they promised. I wrote a letter to Peter asking “how so?”, To which he sent me a surprised answer “I thought that you were already contacted.” It took the Irish a few days to figure out within the company who and what should write to me.

    And they were late.

    The battle of two offers

    The Swedes made the offer first.

    My wife and I had already managed to read all the necessary things on the Internet that we needed to know about Sweden, and realized that we wanted to go there. The list included: a normal salary, good ecology, almost free medicine and completely free education for citizens and persons with a residence permit (including a temporary residence permit), nature and weather similar to Russian, beautiful Stockholm, interesting work with good prospects and much more. The only negative was that in Stockholm it is very difficult to find housing. But this is a topic for another story.

    However, Ireland is also a very attractive country. Therefore, until the last moment I was waiting for an offer from the Irish, not agreeing to the offer of the Swedes. And he had the imprudence to tell Matthew about it. Matthew sensed that the prey was leaving him from under his nose, and began to put pressure on the Swedes to make a decision sooner. As a result, the Swedes promptly chose me, ahead of the Irish offer. I took the time to think. The Irish did not calve. When I had run out of all reasonable excuses for putting off the decision, I agreed to the Swedes' offer.

    And literally the next day (as I remember now, it was Friday) an offer came from the Irish for a larger sum of money than the Swedes. The weekend was ruined.

    On the one hand, I have already agreed to the offer to the Swedes, and backtracking at this stage was ugly. Moreover, the conditions suited me, and my wife and I were already mentally disposed to go to Sweden.

    The Irish, on the other hand, offered more money. Considering that my wife was going to continue her studies and get a master's degree in Data Analysis / Data Science, and it was only me who was supposed to work at that time, it was important for us.

    A strong argument in favor of the Swedish version was the opportunity to study for a master's degree for free - when you receive a residence permit for more than a year, a person acquires almost all the rights of a Swedish citizen, including the right to free education.

    The fat minus of the Irish seemed to us that on the Internet they write that the process of obtaining work permits in this country is pretty long and bureaucratic. There are stories about people who could not get a visa for 4 or more months due to the bureaucracy of local officials. I don’t know how true this is, but we found more than one such story, which pretty much alarmed us.

    We thought, discussed, still thought, weighed all the pros and cons. As a result, Sweden won on points.

    About Swedish offer

    I agreed to the Swedish offer with reservations. I always study almost all contracts to the last comma, so the Swedes tormented me with this in the discussion process.

    Firstly, in the offer there was an amount lower than the one that I requested initially. This amount, by the way, I initially informed the Swedes through Ellie, in the future it was not discussed even before the appearance of the offer itself. Through negotiations, the original amount was returned to its rightful place. It is noteworthy that this same amount appeared "almost" by accident - I just found a fresh announcement on the Internet about finding an iOS developer in Stockholm with the specified salary and took it unchanged.

    Secondly, the contract stated that I undertake to work “at least 40 hours a week”. This wording has been changed to "40 hours a week." In practice, it turned out that no one was following this.

    Thirdly, the contract forbade me to develop any of my own iOS applications in my free time. Doesn't sound cool, right? As a result, after a heated discussion, the wording was accepted that I can not develop my own games for iOS in my free time.

    Some small things were fixed in the contract, I don’t remember it anymore.

    The Swedes legally adopted the first labor contract for six months. This is something like a trial period. At first I was very indignant, but after reading the Internet I found out that this is normal practice.

    I discussed the final version of the offer with our CEO over Skype for more than an hour when he was driving home to Stockholm with his family from a vacation to Malmö. Over the entire time of his trip there was not a single disconnection - such is the mobile Internet in Sweden.

    When all points of the offer were agreed, Swedish emigration magic began ...

    A bit about Swedish bureaucracy

    More precisely about its almost complete absence.

    In order to leave to work in Sweden as a programmer, you need an invitation from the employer, your passport and, if you have a wife, her passport and marriage certificate, as well as some money to pay for a temporary residence permit.

    I pay special attention to the fact that:

    1. No one requires an employee to have compulsory knowledge of English, Swedish, or any other language. The fact that you were able to pass a series of interviews with the employer is already sufficient.
    2. The procedure for obtaining a work permit for a foreign specialist is extremely simple for the employer. Sweden made it as easy as possible to invite highly qualified personnel from abroad.
    3. No one requires an employee to present a diploma of higher education. It is enough to indicate in the application on the part of the employer that you have it and got it at such a university and in such a specialty. After moving, no one asked me for a diploma.

    A visitor is issued a work permit (no more than 2 years at a time), and then - if a work permit is issued for a period of more than 3 months - a temporary residence permitfor the same period with which he can cross the border of Sweden without a visa. You only need a passport or ID card (if you live in a country where instead of a passport an ID card is needed). At the same time, the wife of the visitor is issued the exact same temporary residence permit for the same period as the visitor. At the same time, the wife also gets the right to work in the country, without being tied to a specific employer!

    Physically, a residence permit is a card with a chip (it stores your fingerprints and some other information) the size of a credit card. The Swedes carry these cards in a phone case along with credit cards, very convenient.

    With this card you can freely move inside the Schengen area. Well, of course, if you were fired, the card must be handed back to the Migration Service of Sweden. In this case, however, after the dismissal, you have 3 months to find a new job and remake the card for a new employer.

    The process of obtaining a work permit and temporary residence permit

    Before hiring an employee from outside the European Union, the Swedes are required to advertise the vacancy on the special EURES website for 10 (sort of like, working) days. This is typical for almost any EU country. Only then can the process of inviting an employee from Russia be initiated.

    An application for a work permit and a temporary residence permit is submitted electronically on the website of the Swedish Migration Service. The process begins with the employer, the employee receives an email with a link that you must register on the website of the Migration Service, indicate your details, including passport scans and marriage certificates.

    After filling out the application, the Migration Service within 2 weeks decides to issue a work permit and a temporary residence permit. Next, you need to go to the Embassy of Sweden for a decision, and if the decision is positive, take photos and take index fingerprints for a temporary residence card (hereinafter referred to as a residence permit card . Permission can be issued for up to 2 years, as, for example, happened In my case, a

    small digression: in different countries, what the Swedes call a temporary residence permit is often called a work visa. A work visa is also issued for a certain period and is tied to the employer. I will stick to Swedish terminology, but keep in mind that this is an entity that resembles a work visa.

    After that, the Migration Service will make a residence permit card for up to 4 weeks. In practice, it was done in 2 weeks. This time was enough to notify the management of the dismissal at the old place of work and work out the legal 2 weeks.


    Since the Swedes wanted to see me at work as soon as possible, the move plan was worked out in detail in advance. On the appointed day, we left Tver early in the morning, at 11 in the morning we took residence permit cards from the Swedish embassy in Moscow, and at 7 in the evening we flew Aeroflot plane over the Baltic Sea.

    Domestic Aeroflot and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) fly direct flights from Moscow to Stockholm, both companies fly from Sheremetyevo. A direct flight takes approximately 2 hours. We chose Aeroflot because the tickets were slightly cheaper than those of SAS, in addition, Aeroflot feeds in flight. Since we until the last did not know how quickly the residence permit cards will arrive (confirmation came 3 days before the day of departure), the tickets cost about 10 thousand rubles. per person one way. For comparison: if you take tickets in advance (for a couple of months), you can fly for the money from Moscow to Stockholm and vice versa.

    Upon arrival, we plunged into the Arlanda Express, which took us from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm city center in 20 minutes. There we walked (!) In 15 minutes to the booked hostel and successfully settled in a double room.

    As I mentioned earlier, it is very difficult to find housing in Stockholm. Therefore, we booked the hostel for 2 weeks and were sure that we would have to stay there even longer.

    First days on the spot

    The day after arrival, we had breakfast at McDonald's and went for a walk around the city, my wife showed me the sights (she was in Stockholm while studying at the university). In general, we planned to register with the local Tax Service and buy local sim cards, but the thirst for exploring the beautiful city prevailed and we got into the tax with a mobile operator only after lunch.

    We arrived on Tuesday, work only began on the following Monday, so the first few days we walked a lot in the historic center of the city, stared at the local architecture with dumbfound, not believing that we had moved. In general, for the first few days I had the feeling that I was on vacation.

    Stockholm is a very beautiful city. It is definitely worth a visit, even if you were not invited to work in Sweden. The Swedes take care of their historical heritage, therefore the city center, especially Gamla Stan, is highly recommended by me for a visit by all, without exception!

    Immediately after filing a tax application, we began to look for permanent housing. I will not describe the entire process here in detail, I will only note that we were incredibly lucky and we found housing literally a few days after arrival. Clean, furnished with furniture and household appliances, an apartment in a new house in a good suburb, half an hour before I work on the local metro (the Swedish metro is called Tunnelbana), we immediately liked it. We quickly signed a contract, made a deposit, and after about a week we drove into our new apartment.

    I call the apartment an apartment for two reasons: firstly, it is quite small by Russian standards - only 35 square meters. m. Secondly, it is so comfortable that calling my apartment does not turn my tongue.

    More than a month has passed since our arrival here. My wife and I are very pleased with the move.


    First of all, I do not urge anyone to “refuel the tractor” or “bring down from Raska”. I love my country and eagerly explain the meaning of the events taking place now in Russia and in its immediate vicinity to my new foreign colleagues (my colleagues are skeptical about shaking their heads but smiling politely).

    I didn’t leave because I didn’t like this or that politician, party or year-round mud on the knee next to my porch. I left for new experience, knowledge, impressions, acquaintances and living standards.

    I am sure that going abroad to work is a feasible task for any person working in the IT field, while having a head with brains between his shoulders and a hat, and not a stand for this hat. The task is feasible, but not simple, in general, for its implementation it will be necessary to work. And, most often, the final result will have to wait several years (in my case, we met in about 2 years).

    So, if you want to leave, you must:

    1. Understand what you can do best, what are your competitive advantages compared to your other colleagues. Look around. If there are a lot of people around you who can do your job, your chances of leaving are not high.

    2. Decide on the country or countries where you want to go. Much will depend on this: starting from studying the features of emigration legislation, ending with studying the language used for communication in a given country. Fortunately, often knowledge of English will be enough to travel to almost any decent country.

    3. To study the features of the migration legislation of the selected country or countries. All countries have different rules for inviting foreign specialists to work. In many European countries, inviting people from the EU is much easier than from outside the EU. Know the procedure for the emigration process in detail. Sometimes it’s the details that can become an annoying obstacle to your dream.

    4. To study a foreign language and, if necessary, stock up with documentary evidence of his knowledge. Most often, this foreign language will be English. Keep in mind that you need to not only choose the right type of certificate of knowledge of English (IELTS, FCE, CAE, CPE, TOEFL, other certification systems), but also own it so well that you can have telephone interviews for at least an hour ( the figure is quite real, based on my experience). Believe me, this is complicated.

    5. Take real steps to find work in your chosen country or countries before you leave. The real steps are finding and responding to vacancies. Depending on the chosen country, the search methods (and sometimes its expediency) will vary. Count on the fact that the search will take at least several months.

    6. Adapt. If the search yields no results - adapt: ​​change approaches to search, look for new ways to interact with employers and recruiters, in the end, change the target country, expand the scope of the search.

    7. Be persistent. After months of unsuccessful searches, it may seem that all efforts are in vain. Do not give up! Keep looking, think what else you can do.

    8. Continue to develop in your field. With all the preparations and job search you can forget about your professional development. Do not do this: technologies are developing rapidly now, if you do not engage in constant self-education, in six months or a year you can significantly lag behind your colleagues. Agree, it would be a shame to lose a good offer due to ignorance of the latest technologies in your field.

    That’s all for me.

    This article has turned out much more than I originally planned, but it seems to me that I did not tell a lot of important things. In this regard, I will soon write a series of more detailed notes on certain aspects of life in Sweden. These notes do not fit into the Habr format, so I will post them on my blog, which everyone can find without any difficulty (just look at my profile).

    Ready to answer questions in the comments. Thanks for attention!

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