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To ask how to move to Scandinavia?

69 replies

Vikingintraining · 11/04/2021 19:19

Doing the shameful "posting here for traffic" thing, apologies, and with a changed username for anonymity.
It's just me, no DH or DP or any kids, mid 40s.
I want to move to Norway, Denmark or Sweden, no preference, I love them all and know them very well through holidays. You know when you just feel at home somewhere, like you belong there. How do I make the move to live over there? Has anyone done this who could offer me useful and practical advice?
I've learned some language and can hold a basic conversation in each language but nowhere near to fluency.
Work is an obvious area of difficulty, I need to earn enough to live comfortably but without fluent language do I have a hope? I have looked online for jobs but not had any luck.
I work in media/communications. And I do work full time from home so in a sense I could be anywhere. Can I be employed by a UK company but live overseas?
Help me people of Mumsnet, I want to emigrate!

OP posts:

Vikingintraining · 11/04/2021 19:22

Follow up note: I fully understand it's not possible to travel at the moment with lockdown etc, but I want to make plans.

OP posts:

Dutch1e · 11/04/2021 19:24

I'm a non-EU immigrant to an EU country (I'll count Norway as EU for the purposes of this thread) and it was immensely difficult to get a resident's visa. What do the immigration websites of each of them say?


Dutch1e · 11/04/2021 19:24

Sorry, residency permit, not visa. Serves me right for trying to multitask


melodypondisasuperhero · 11/04/2021 19:29

I'm from Sweden so don't know anything about immigrating there but in terms of the language I don't think that will be a problem at all. If you are relatively well-established in your field you would be able to get a job as an English-speaker. Basically everyone speaks good English there.

In terms of working for a UK company while living abroad, that can get very complicated for tax reasons. Could you split your time between countries in a way that would make you resident in the UK for tax purposes?


CirclesWithinCircles · 11/04/2021 19:32

I'm also interested in the answer, although my guess would be that it varies from country to country.

Scandinavian countries will now have similar rules in that respect to all the EU countries now, as we are no longer part of the EU.

I think in most countries, you can live there if you own a property or earn a certain amount per year (usually above £35,000) whether that be through work in the country or through a private income, such as a trust fund or a pension.

Interested to hear more exact details.


Ohnomoreno · 11/04/2021 19:32

I've looked into it before and signed up for Norwegian job Boards, but didn't get far. I'm fluent in three languages but sadly not the Nordic ones.


Klarajannsson · 11/04/2021 19:34

Sorry, I don't know anything but good luck! I fell in love with Sweden and Swedish after watching The Bridge but Norway is the place of my fantasy life. Preferably in that house where Twin was set.


BuckysArm · 11/04/2021 19:43

I’ve looked in to this a bit for Sweden as I intend to purchase a second home there eventually. I’d go now but DH is hesitant (think he fears I love Sodermalm more than him!)

There’s info here

And you may need a police report etc. It’s pretty standard migration stuff. You have to have a job before you can apply for residency. I can’t think of more of the top of my head. But it’s one of those cases where it’s as complicated as any other emigration process.

Language wise though, I’m semi-fluent but have found that it depends where you are. In Stockholm I hear English as much as Swedish even between natives.

The page is fairly thorough too.


Alaimo · 11/04/2021 19:48

I can only speak for Sweden, but imagine the rules in Norway and Denmark might be similar. Unless you already have ties to Sweden, you'll basically need a job offer in order to be able to move to Sweden. Once you have a job offer you will be able to apply for a work visa. As far as I know, there are no strict income requirements, but I expect (although don't know for sure) that employers will need to prove that there were no suitable local candidates before they can hire non-EU staff. Without job offer I'm afraid it's near-impossible to move there post-Brexit.

While it is certainly not impossible for you to find a job in Sweden, it's unlikely to be easy. As a pp said, most Swedes speak good English, but I think that's a downside for British migrants. Why should a company hire you rather than a Swede with good English and perfect Swedish? I work at a university, and while we hire many international staff for academic positions, nearly all our professional service staff (admin, finance, comms, etc) are Swedish because they can communicate well in both languages. Most likely your best will be multinationals. In addition to the main job sites, I believe some of them also recruit/advertise through Linkedin, so that could be worth a try.


Yogatomorrow · 11/04/2021 19:53

I live in sweden. I don't know the answer to your questions but can direct you for help. Go to skatteverket (tax office) - they should be able answer tax questions. One of your first questions should be can your get a personal number if your are based in sweden but working for a uk company. They have an english version of the website and you can email questions in English. Also migrationsverket (immigration office) - they can tell you about residence permits. // is very good for information. But be wary of their forum, which can be really negative.

A couple of words of warning. You may have left it too late to just move over and live as a Swedish resident due to brexit. You may need a job offer to be granted permission to stay longer than 90 days. But if you do get a job, then it should be relatively straightforward, as if you were American for example. That is what my employer says about future British employees.

I have no doubt that any answers you get from official organisations will start "do you have a Swedish personal number?". They may stop when they realise you don't. You effectively can't live here without it (no bank account, mobile phone contract, no swish, no bank id, etc.).

Another point about dealing with swedes (most Scandinavians actually), if you don't ask precisely the correct question, then they usually won't volunteer the information that you are looking for. Very annoying, so be prepared to ask different people in different ways and then ask for further clarification (it is very hard to formulate the "right" question when you don't know the answer).

I love it here. The admin is a pain, but once you are inside the system, it works so smoothly. But again brexit fucked up a few things, so it may much harder to move here (also be preparing to retake your driving test!). Good luck :-)


TheVamoosh · 11/04/2021 20:50

In Stockholm I hear English as much as Swedish even between natives.

You what, now? Swedish people do not speak English to each other.


sonjadog · 11/04/2021 20:54

I live in Norway. If you want to come here you will need a job to come to. Don’t come and then start looking unless you either have a lot of savings or can take low paid work. You won’t get residency without a certain level of income. There are lots of companies that work in English so there are jobs for non-Norwegian speakers, but competition can be fierce.


Truthlikeness · 11/04/2021 20:55

Well, my friend was very keen to move to Sweden, so she took a language class and started trying to track down a Swedish boyfriend. She found one, they moved to Sweden and got married and she now works for IKEA Grin


Lndnmummy · 11/04/2021 21:01

No, that’s just not true. Swedish people (I am one) do NOT speak Swedish to other Swedes (unless there are non Swedish people around, in which case they do as to no be rude.
OP, it’s a shame you left it until post Brexit as the admin side of things would have been so much easier for you beforehand. You need to start untangle things bit by bit, so check first if you could do your uk job from there. You can contact the Swedish Embassy for advice. There is also a website called Sweden Abroad who might be able to help you with sign posting. Finding accommodation is likely to be very difficult, in particular in Stockholm and Gothenburg.


BuckysArm · 11/04/2021 21:06


In Stockholm I hear English as much as Swedish even between natives.

You what, now? Swedish people do not speak English to each other.

I didn’t explain that very clearly - I meant when I’m there I’m with friends. It was a very cack handed way of saying they’re very accommodating linguistically when in non-Swedish company! Sorry.

SwedishK · 11/04/2021 21:49

You could join 'Expats in Stockholm and Sweden' on Facebook. There are lots of people on there who have done what you want to do.

PS. I wish I was moving back too. I'm sure you will love it.


Norwaydidnthappen · 11/04/2021 21:55

DH’s best friend has lived in Denmark for years. He’s married to a Danish woman and has two DC plus owns his own restaurant but can’t speak Danish at all. He gets annoyed when his wife speaks Danish to all of her Danish friends because he can’t understand yet won’t learn the language. Do just think it’s typical British arrogance really, it’s that whole ‘why do I have to learn their language when most of the world speaks English.’ So yes, you can get by without speaking the language but I think it’s quite rude not to learn if you want to live there personally. It’ll be more difficult to emigrate post Brexit sadly.


Yetmorecrap · 11/04/2021 22:23

Hey OP, we moved to Copenhagen in October. Denmark is a total no no in my opinion at the moment, especially as a non EU citizen unless you speak fluent Danish - covid has put a lot of good people out on the market no Brits are bottom
Of the pile. We work for ourselves so didn’t have the job issue, but we moved before the end of withdrawal period — even then we had to prove £20k in the bank and we have no recourse to benefits. The only non EU citizens I see on expats in Copenhagen either have EU partners, fly under the radar and do crappy jobs (and then get no health care) or we’re lucky enough to have a job like diplomat or lecturer at university (and hence sponsorship) . It’s not easy OP and it’s very expensive here too unless you are well paid or can bring a ton if savings with you


Yetmorecrap · 11/04/2021 22:26

I do wish people wouldn’t imply it’s as easy as just fancying it— it simply isn’t post Brexit , if you need to work and if you don’t you need plenty of cash and then they can still refuse you


Yetmorecrap · 11/04/2021 22:31

And you will only get a year at a time temporary residency and fingerprinted etc. We are seriously thinkingof either coming back or going to Dublin, not because it’s not nice, it is, but the terms are onerous and it doesn’t feel very secure


ScepticalBandicoot · 11/04/2021 23:06

OP have you mentioned which passport(s) you hold? Because that will obviously make a difference post Brexit. Getting a job before moving would be much the best idea. In terms of language, whether or not they require fluency will depend on the organisation and role. If you could narrow it down to one specific country you could focus on that particular language and do a crash course to get past the basic level. This will probably also help you with job searching as you won't be limited to jobs advertised in English.


Linguaphile · 11/04/2021 23:29

Try looking at UN jobs and filtering by duty station for Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc. You won’t need the local language usually as long as you speak one or two of the official UN working languages, and getting visa won’t be an issue working for a UN institution (as long as it’s not a locally recruited post). They have all sorts of jobs and especially encourage women to apply. The application process is full-on though, not just a CV and cover letter.


mrwalkensir · 11/04/2021 23:43

Seem to remember that in the late 70s/early 80s, Sweden considered making English their official language for legal stuff etc. So maybe not surprising that they're more flexible


Thewinterofdiscontent · 11/04/2021 23:47

[quote Linguaphile]Try looking at UN jobs and filtering by duty station for Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc. You won’t need the local language usually as long as you speak one or two of the official UN working languages, and getting visa won’t be an issue working for a UN institution (as long as it’s not a locally recruited post). They have all sorts of jobs and especially encourage women to apply. The application process is full-on though, not just a CV and cover letter.[/quote]
What a fabulous website! Thank you @Linguaphile.


Phrenologist · 12/04/2021 01:07

I’m puzzled you don’t have any preference at all between Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They seem to me quite different to one another in many ways. Have you spent much time in each country?

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