Foreign investment issues

Investment restrictions

What restrictions, fees and taxes exist on foreign investment in or ownership of a project and related companies? Do the restrictions also apply to foreign investors or creditors in the event of foreclosure on the project and related companies? Are there any bilateral investment treaties with key nation states or other international treaties that may afford relief from such restrictions? Would such activities require registration with any government authority?

Sweden does not have any restrictions, fees, taxes or other disadvantages for foreign investors regarding investment or ownership of a project and related companies.

Sweden is a party to several bilateral investment treaties. Sweden has also signed the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, which aims to improve the transparency in investor-state dispute settlement. The bilateral investment treaties aim to give foreign investors the same treatment as national investors and other foreign investors. The treaties also make sure that foreign investors are treated equally and reasonably. Further, the treaties regulate how investors shall be compensated if expropriation occurs. Foreign investors are entitled to the same compensation as domestic investors are. Registration is generally not needed to benefit from the bilateral investment treaties.

Insurance restrictions

What restrictions, fees and taxes exist on insurance policies over project assets provided or guaranteed by foreign insurance companies? May such policies be payable to foreign secured creditors?

No restrictions, fees or taxes exist on insurance policies over project assets provided or guaranteed by foreign insurance companies. The policies are payable to foreign secured creditors.

Worker restrictions

What restrictions exist on bringing in foreign workers, technicians or executives to work on a project?

Citizens from outside the EU and EES need a residence permit and a work permit to work for longer than three months in Sweden. However, a work permit is not needed if the employee is a specialist in an international corporation who is assigned to work in Sweden for no more than 12 months. The company decides whether the employee is to be regarded as a specialist or not. The Swedish Migration Board will not investigate the issue. The specialists must be employees of the company to be classified as specialists by the Migration Board. They cannot be hired as consultants.

Applications for residence permits should be made online on the Swedish Migration Board’s website prior to the entry into Sweden. A permit will not be granted if the application is made when the applicant is already in Sweden. The decision to approve or deny the application is made by the Swedish Migration Board. The current processing time for a residence permit application is approximately four to eight months.

Equipment restrictions

What restrictions exist on the importation of project equipment?

Generally, permission to import equipment to Sweden is not needed. However, a registration number is needed, which can be obtained on the Swedish Customs website (www.tullverket.se). Some restrictions apply on importing certain equipment to Sweden. The reasons for these restrictions are trade policies, environmental considerations, consideration for the health and safety of humans and protection against the spreading of animal and plant diseases. The restrictions apply on importing live animals and animal products, plants, food, weapons and ammunition, alcohol, chemical products, pharmaceuticals and drugs, trade with endangered animals and plants, and counterfeited products. Other governmental agencies and other agencies, apart from the Swedish Customs, that may need to be contacted prior to importation are the Swedish Tax Agency, the National Board of Trade, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Chamber of Commerce.

Nationalisation laws

What laws exist regarding the nationalisation or expropriation of project companies and assets? Are any forms of investment specially protected (from nationalisation or expropriation)?

Private ownership is strongly protected by the Swedish Constitution. Nationalisation or expropriation is only allowed if necessary for satisfying essential public interests and provided the owner is fairly compensated. The Expropriation Act (1972:719) determines the relevant compensation when expropriation occurs. All types of investments are equally protected under these provisions.