Despite the frequent focus on the high-tax Swedish welfare state, few European countries offer a more business-friendly and digitized climate. Everything from incorporation to taxes can be completed online. For many Swedes, filing taxes requires no more than sending a single text message. The advanced IT and data infrastructure along with the close collaboration between the private and public sectors have fueled Sweden’s rise as one of the most innovative countries in the EU.
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- For a population of only 10 million people, Sweden has produced a large number of multinational powerhouses and music exports. From Spotify and IKEA to Avicii and Zara Larsson, Swedish ingenuity is felt around the world. The best-selling video game of all time — Minecraft — was made in Sweden.
- Sweden always receives high marks in international comparisons. A recent report that examined areas like social issues, entrepreneurship, gender equality, the economy, and the environment ranked the land of the midnight sun at the top of six categories. It holds the distinction of being one of the most business-friendly countries in Europe.
- Stockholm is one of the world's cleanest capitals and also one of the leading climate cities in Europe. Named Europe's first environmental capital in 2010, it sits right on the water, allowing residents to go swimming (or ice skating in the winter) in the middle of downtown.
The taxation rates in Sweden reflect what is included in public spending: health care, parental leave (each parent is entitled to 240 days each), higher education, and child- and elderly care. The tax-to-GDP ratio in Sweden is 43.9% compared to 24.3% in the United States. Recruiting talent from outside Sweden can therefore be challenging.
Rigorous Labor Laws
Sweden’s labor laws are strict. Workers are entitled to 25 paid vacation days and 16 additional public holidays each year. However, there is no minimum wage law, as this is considered the responsibility of the robust trade unions and employer organizations. Collective bargaining takes primarily place at industry level although it exists at the company level as well.
Companies that employ foreign nationals must keep a close eye on immigration laws. Even the most minute error can result in a revoked permit. In recent years, numerous articles have documented employees being deported for (voluntarily) taking too little vacation or working too much overtime.
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