How Wrong We Were…

…to think that returning to Sweden would be easy. It was not just to drive over the Öresund Bridge nor just to return to our house in Jokkmokk and think that life continues in a normal and expected way. To return to Sweden meant to be registered back into the digital systems and bureaucracy of the Swedish Social Services and Swedish Tax Agency on an official base. And, with traditional Swedish “suspicion”, it isn’t easy to return.

According to the Swedish Tax Agency, Swedish citizens are to register their intent of staying in another country, should this stay be more than one year. Abidingly, we did the paperwork. We left the country for Shetland. We returned to the unexpected run-around and administrative stupidity of just one of Sweden’s inability of making things work.

To be able to have a television, mobile phone, broadband, any type of identification and do many bank errands Sweden has a system of each individual being cleared via credit checks. These credit checks are based on the computer information of social services and the tax agency. Now, here’s the important part… if you’re not on this system, you can’t get television, phones, broadband, ID’s etc.

To get back in the system, one informs the Swedish Tax agency, who collaborates with Social Services. For myself, it wasn’t enough to go to the local social services to register. I had to take the time to go to the offices in Stockholm, wait in line to get a queue number and wait a couple of hours more to show my passport and register my existence in the country. This I did August 14. Worse off was for my wife. The Social Services office in Jokkmokk no longer exists and the closest office for her was a two-hour drive and one-day-away-from-work away.

In spite of registration, I am still, at this writing, not in the system. A phone call to Social Services and an overworked service administrator revealed I had to wait at least 6 months! C’mon Sweden!

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It’s easy to deduct that Sweden does not work! Sweden is becoming a backward country with good marketing skills to hide its unofficial backwardness. It was easier to leave Sweden than to return to it. It was easier to start living in Shetland than returning to Sweden.

I have a feeling that, next time we consider living in another country, we will not follow Swedish laws that make the return part a real head-banging pain-in-the-butt. It feels like being punished for obeying the laws. But, that’s Sweden for ya. Think twice before leaving it…then, think a third time with returning!