Accompanying partners who will start working in the city of posting should inform the Ambassador about the kind of work they will be doing and who their employer will be. This is so that an assessment can be made as to whether a situation may arise that involves disqualification or public confidence being undermined.
It is an important task for the Swedish Foreign Service to help accompanying partners acquire sufficient information about the posting. In addition to the station report, the embassy official with responsibility for matters concerning accompanying partners can provide information about opportunities for finding work in the city of posting. Both Sida’s and the Government Offices’ websites have information about international jobs.
Sida’s website for available jobs (in Swedish)
Government Offices’ website for available international jobs (in Swedish)
FREE MOVEMENT IN THE EU/EEA/SWITZERLAND
There is a free labour market in the EU/EEA/Switzerland, and accompanying Swedish citizens have the right to seek and find employment without needing a work permit.
For accompanying partners who are foreign citizens, the same rules apply as for third-country nationals who are married to citizens of these countries. They are thus exempt from the work permit requirement. Under EU Regulation No 883/2004 (entered into force on 1 May 2010) on the coordination of social security systems, you are covered by the social insurance system (and unemployment insurance) in the EU/EEA country in which you work.
Arbetsförmedlingen’s (Swedish Public Employment Service) website has a fact sheet with information about where to find jobs, social insurance, taxes, unemployment insurance, etc. for the specific country you are interested in. Also see the Arbetsförmedlingen/EURES fact sheet with general information/a checklist about jobs in the EU/EEA and Switzerland.
EURES – the European portal for mobility in working life – has information about work and educational opportunities in Europe.
BILATERAL AGREEMENTS ON ACCOMPANYING PARTNERS’ RIGHT TO WORK PERMITS
Countries outside the EU/EEA most often require that accompanying partners have a work permit. Agreements on work permits for accompanying partners are initiated by the mission abroad and administered by the contact person for accompanying partners at the Human Resources Department.
Sweden’s bilateral agreements are based on the Council of Europe model agreement, adopted in 1987, which is a recommendation for a bilateral model agreement on work permits for accompanying partners of posted staff. The agreement does not release the accompanying partner from the obligation to have a work permit, but it does require that applications that are submitted are handled promptly and appropriately.
As of 2023, Sweden has entered into bilateral agreements or similar agreements with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Canada, Namibia, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the United States. Negotiations are underway with other countries. Please note, however, that the agreements do not always include cohabitees.
LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AT A MISSION ABROAD
An accompanying partner has the right to apply for employment at a Swedish mission abroad on the same terms as other applicants. Information about vacancies should be shared with accompanying partners who have expressed an interest in this.
Under the regulations on disqualification set out in the Administrative Procedure Act, the person who is to handle a case is disqualified if the matter concerns the person themself or a family member. This means that an employed posted staff member may not take a decision on local employment and related terms of employment for their own family members. When in doubt about a situation involving disqualification, UD RS should be contacted. In a situation involving disqualification, the employment position is to be handled by the Government Offices (Ministry for Foreign Affairs) or by another posted official.
Local employees who are accompanying partners of posted staff (and registered as resident in Sweden) are fully liable to pay tax in Sweden.