23 Jul, 2017
Age: 28
Status: on extended work permit

What brought you to Sweden?

My previous company offered me relocation.

What do you wish you knew about Sweden, when you first moved here?

I wish I knew about the importance of the Swedish personal number. The first few months without that number were really difficult. I wasn’t mentally ready to have so many limitations without it.

How would you compare the Swedish work culture to your home country’s work culture?

The Swedish work environment is more versatile in terms of culture and nationalities. Working in a team where everyone is from a different country and background was a fantastic experience. Based on the personal experience, people are generally more open regarding their personal life in Ukraine. Here in Sweden there is much more respect towards the personal space, and the society is much less judgemental. I learned to keep my opinion to myself :) Here in Sweden much more attention is payed to keeping work-life balance. Overtimes and long hours are quite rare. In Ukraine my work was more intense.
Otherwise, adjusting to a new environment went quite easy for me.

What’s your favourite part about living in Sweden?

The more I live in Sweden, the more I like small things around me. First, I really enjoy the overall peacefulness of the country. I remember my first experience with the tax office or a bank, or a hospital. Everyone I met were really polite and trying their best to be helpful. I enjoy the nature around Stockholm. I cant' describe my amusement when one morning I saw a deer from the window of the tram on my way to the office. Now it’s becoming usual, more or less… Probably one of the most important discoveries I made was that people are trusted. I was used to the attitude that you have to prove everything all the time. The beurocratic machine of Ukraine made you walk circles for any smallest thing you ever need. Here it’s different. An even though there is still quite a lot of beurocracy, this beurocracy is usually effective and makes sense. At least, when I was asked to provide any document or paper by any official authority, I knew why they needed it. And if I didn’t have the needed document, there always was a solution or alternative. And I could just scan and email everything. No waiting in infinite queues. There were times when here in Sweden I felt more human and felt more respected than in my home country.

What do you struggle with the most in Sweden?

The medical care system is probably the biggest disappointment to me. Maybe I’m biased and my experience is limited, but I have an overall impression that it’s better not to get sick in Sweden. If you do, it better be something serious :) In most cases, if you still manage to walk and talk, you are sent home to rest and take paracetamol or Ibuprofen. The doctors in vårdcentral clinics are so afraid to overmedicate you that it’s a true challenge to get any proper painkillers or antibiotics from them. The wall of the nurses is unbeatable. Getting to a good doctor, getting the needed tests taken and be diagnosed properly is almost like mission impossible.

Did you fill in the form for the work permit extension application yourself?

The first two times I filled the application myself, and the last time I used the services of a third-party company offered by my new employer.

Any tips for people doing the work permit extension application?

Prepare the insurance and tax declaration if you are extending the permit. There was no such requirement when I submitted the application myself, but then the case officer required those papers later. I think it delayed the process by few weeks. The third-party company that helped me last time asked for this information instantly.

When did you apply for your work permit and what is the current state of your application?

I applied for a new permit (because I changed the employer earlier than after two years of working in Sweden) at the end of May 2017. I have received it at the beginning of July 2017. Overall, it took me nearly five weeks to get the decision this time. The previous time I was waiting from the beginning of February till the end of July (all this time without a proper personal number).

Quick Spin

Migration Agency
Written by Nicola Owen