Foreign workers face lower Swedish pensions than native Swedes

If you were born outside of Sweden and are about to retire, it is likely that you will get a lower pension than your native Swedish counterparts. But it depends on a few different factors.

Foreign workers face lower Swedish pensions than native Swedes
If you're working in Sweden, you're almost certainly earning towards a Swedish pension. But how much will you actually get? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

People who were born outside of Sweden and recently retired get on average 5,000 kronor ($588) less a month compared to Swedish-born retirees, according to statistics by Sweden’s pension authority reported by public radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR).

On average, pensioners who were born in Sweden earn 17,823 kronor a month after tax, and foreign-born pensioners earn 12,663 kronor, according to the pension authority.

This includes all parts of the pension pot, including state pension, income pension, guarantee pension, premium pension, and private savings in Swedish kronor, but doesn’t take into account any savings that immigrants may have from their home countries.

Exactly how much money goes into your pension depends on many factors, including your salary, length of time working in Sweden, your company’s policy, and your own personal decisions (especially if you’re self-employed).

So the difference is partly due to the fact that foreign-born pensioners didn’t work in Sweden for as many years. If you instead compare the pensions of native and foreign-born Swedes who earned a Swedish salary for over 30 years, the gap is much smaller, reports SR.

Another reason is that a lot of foreign-born workers perhaps initially struggled to find a job, or worked in industries that were hit harder by unemployment and lower salaries.

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