How to Move to Sweden: A Comprehensive Guide for Filipinos
A lot of Filipinos want to move abroad. Mostly to provide better for their families back home, or because they just want to start a new life abroad. Australia, New Zealand, or Canada is one of the most popular destinations for Filipino migrants because it’s an English-speaking country and has a high standard of living.
But, what if I tell you that you can move to Sweden too (or anywhere in Europe) even with your Philippine passport?
In this comprehensive guide on how to migrate to Sweden from the Philippines, I have shared my personal experience and other OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who have through this process. This blog post includes information like how much money you need, what jobs are available, where you can get help along the way, and how to find a job in Sweden.
Basically, everything you need to know to migrate to Sweden from the Philippines!
Moving abroad can be intimidating. You have to start over in another country, learn the culture, learn the language, and many more. This process can be easy, as long as you prepare in advance.
And, as long as your employer has partnered with an agency for your OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) which you will read more about later!
In This Post
- Research on the legal requirements to move to Sweden
- Find a job in Sweden
- Apply for a residence permit card (visa)
- Secure an OEC (Overseas Filipino Worker) if your visa is connected to your work
- Celebrate because you got an OEC!
- Prepare for the living costs in Sweden
- Find a home to buy or rent
- Welcome to Sweden
If you still haven’t decided if you want to move to Sweden, you can read my post on the pros and cons of living in Sweden to help you with your decision!
How to Move to Sweden from the Philippines
Research on the legal requirements to move to Sweden
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is research the legal requirements to move to Sweden. As non-EU citizens, we need a visa to enter Sweden. A tourist visa doesn’t count here as this will only let you stay in Sweden (or the Schengen area) for a maximum of 90 days.
Staying illegally wouldn’t do you any good in the long run.
So, if you want to migrate to Sweden, you would need to have a visa (residence permit) based on any of the following:
- Work permit
- Permit for studies or research in Sweden
- Permit for moving to someone in Sweden
You can only get a work permit if you have been offered a job to work in Sweden. Employers who hire international talents know the legal requirements to relocate you to Sweden. But, in general, the requirements to get a work permit are:
- You must have a valid passport.
- Your terms of employment and salary is based on the Swedish collective agreements.
- Your salary should be at least 13.000 SEK per month before taxes.
- Your employer intends to provide insurance covering health, life, employment and pension when you begin to work.
Your family members can also come to Sweden with you when you have a work permit. They will have to apply as your dependents (permit for moving to someone n Sweden).
Family members are wife, husband, cohabiting partner, registered partner, and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Permit for studies or research in Sweden
If you plan to study in Sweden for more than 90 days, then you can apply for a residence permit.
You can find more information at Sweden’s University Admissions website. You will find here the available programmes, important dates and deadlines, and also information regarding scholarships.
Permit for moving to someone in Sweden
If you are non-EU and you want to move to someone living in Sweden, you can also apply for a residence permit.
- Spouses, registered partners or cohabiting partners
- Future spouses or cohabiting partners
- A parent or other family members (exceptional cases)*
Find a job in Sweden
If you want to move abroad and work in Sweden, then securing a job here can be your best option. There are many companies that offer relocation services for Filipinos looking into working or living overseas; they have a high demand for IT professionals specifically so it’s worth checking them out!
Jobs may require Swedish but depending on the industry, there will likely still be plenty available with English. So, don’t give up yet if you’re not an IT professional!
Where to find jobs in Sweden
There are a few ways to find job postings in Sweden. The most common way is through job search engines and classified ads websites. You will easily see if the company offers relocation or not.
If you are already in Sweden and are also looking for a job, you can signup to Arbetförmedlingen, a Swedish public employment service.
Hiring process in Sweden
With the technology, interview over Teams or any communication tool is possible. That’s why it’s also possible to get a job or start with the hiring process without going to that country. It took me only two months before I got an offer.
The hiring process depends on the company, of course, but it usually starts with a phone interview. Here’s the process that I had when I applied for a job in Sweden from the Philippines.
- Phone interview
- Interview with the hiring manager
- Technical exam (if you are applying for a technical position)
- Onsite interview
- Job offer!
Since I was applying from the Philippines and the job is in Stockholm, Sweden, my employer asked me to travel to Sweden for a face-to-face interview!
I paid for my visa application, food for lunch and dinner. But, the accommodation (with breakfast) is already provided. I also paid for my plane ticket which was reimbursed afterwards.
During the onsite interview, you will also have a meeting with HR to discuss the relocation process. This means you are really going to move abroad soon!
Not all companies in Sweden will invite you for an onsite interview. But, most of them will help you with the relocation process.
Tips when applying for jobs in Sweden
- Use a one-page resume.
- Update your CV according to the CV style in the country you’re applying to.
- Avoid applying in summer or during the Christmas season. Work is slow during that time, and people are usually on vacation.
- Research on the working style in that country.
- Respond to emails as fast as you can.
- Learn more about the company & life in Sweden.
We have podcast!
The Swedish job market can be tough to navigate. Many times, you need a network and connections in order to get the right job.
We want to help people who are looking for jobs in Sweden by providing information that is not easily available on the internet.
Our podcast, Married Life in Progress, will give you an inside look at what it’s like living and working in Sweden as well as tips about how to find your dream job here!
Apply for a residence permit card (visa)
If you are granted a residence permit, then you will receive a residence permit card. This will serve as your visa to Sweden and in the Schengen area.
If you don’t need a visa, you can apply for a residence permit card upon arrival. You only need to show a copy of the decision to the immigration upon arrival. Then, you can book an appointment for your biometrics.
NOTE: Book as early as you can because it’s difficult to find a slot especially in Stockholm.
If you need a visa, you need to have a residence permit card first before traveling to Sweden. This usually takes up to 4 weeks before you get your residence permit card.
- Contact the embassy in your country, and confirm if you could have your photograph and fingerprints taken. If not, then they’ll suggest you contact another embassy. For Filipinos, our photographs and fingerprints can be taken at the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
- There’s no need to book an appointment; you can go to the embassy as soon as possible.
- Wait for up to 4 weeks; they will send you an email if your residence permit card is ready for pickup.
- Once your card is ready for pickup, you need to travel to Bangkok again to pick it up.
If traveling is not yet possible, contact the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok. You might be advised to secure a D-Visa that you can apply from the Embassy of Sweden in Manila.
Upon arrival to Sweden, you can apply for a residence permit card.
Secure an OEC (Overseas Filipino Worker) if your visa is connected to your work
In my experience (and most of the people I know), this was the hardest and most challenging part of the process before moving to Sweden.
If you are a Philippine passport holder and leaving the Philippines on a work permit, you need to get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from POEA. This serves as an exit clearance.
The process is ridiculously slow & unnecessary, but this is an important document you would need to show to the immigration office at the airport as per their logic.
So, if you are a professional and skilled workers, you would need to provide the documents listed here. The POLO verification takes time (on average it will take a month). Since Sweden does not have POLO here, you can request for verified documents in the Philippine Embassy in Sweden.
Now, don’t be surprised when they ask you to change your contract according to their terms and if you get different answers from the POEA office.
If you have all your documents, the process can take 1 month. In my own experience, I was processing my OEC from January to April. It maybe faster for some, but I need you to set your expectations.
This can cause your delay, so you should start gathering information about the OEC once you got a job abroad. There is a helpful Facebook group where you can ask questions or clarifications regarding your OEC.
Don’t worry! Despite all the hassles and headaches, in the end, you will pay $100 for the processing fee or whatever fee they said. And, you’ll be exempted to pay the travel tax and terminal fees at the airport!
Celebrate because you got an OEC!
You and your employer deserve a pat on the back for being patient in complying with the Philippines’ ridiculous exit clearance!
My two previous HRs who helped me with this process actually celebrated and had a champagne when I told them I got my OEC!
I lost my supposedly income from January to April though because I got delayed. But, that’s a Filipino life!
Prepare for the living costs in Sweden
Now, to the more exciting part.
Before packing your bags, you should create your checklist for moving abroad. And prepare yourself financially.
The average cost of living in Stockholm per month is around 10.000 SEK (~$1,200) per person without rent.
The estimated monthly costs depend on the person but to give you an idea, you can read our breakdown of monthly expenses in Stockholm. It will also give you an idea of the cost of living in Stockholm.
Most struggles of foreigners who recently moved to Sweden is waiting for the personnummer (Swedish personal number). This is necessary to open a bank account, and employers in Sweden usually need your Swedish bank account for payroll.
In the meantime, you can open an international bank account with Wise so you get lower fees.
Find a home to buy or rent
If you are moving to Sweden on a work permit, most employers provide free accommodation for a month until you find a place to stay.
Finding an apartment for rent in Stockholm is difficult especially if you need a long-term contract. And, apartments are expensive!
You don’t need to live in the city center because almost every place is accessible by the metro, commuter train or bus.
My first apartment in Stockholm is within the city center, and I lived there for more than a year.
I created a more detailed guide on how to find an apartment for rent in Stockholm. Beware of the scams, and only pay your deposit once you confirmed that the apartment is available and after signing a contract.
Foreigners can also buy apartments in Sweden and the process is simple! You just need to be employed for at least 6 months. We bought our apartment in December 2020 and we now live in the outskirts of Stockholm City. It takes us 30 minutes to travel to the city.
I know looking for a place to live in a new country is difficult. Take your time and research properly so you won’t get scammed.
Get home insurance as soon as you can! In my previous rental apartment, there was water leakage and we needed to move out ASAP. Thankfully, my home insurance, Hedvig, provided temporary accommodation for us.
Want a 10 SEK discount per month?
Do you want to get a 10 SEK discount per month on your home insurance with Hedvig? Signup using my code 8O928I to get your discount.
Welcome to Sweden
If you have finally arrived to Sweden, välkommen! I would be happy to help you if you need anything. Now, it will take some time to adjust here, but I’m sure you would love Sweden!
There are still a lot of things you would need to do upon arrival like finding an apartment, registering your move to the tax office (Skatteverket), opening a bank account, etc.
If you moved to Sweden for work, I’m sure you will get the help you need from your relocation consultant.
I have put together a list for you too so you know where to start!
I hope this guide on how to move to Sweden helped you in any way. If you have more questions, you can always drop a message to me.
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