The SUP46 members represent 45 different nationalities. Mladen, from our member company Worldfavor is one of them coming from Serbia. He came to Sweden 2,5 years ago to study at KTH in Stockholm. After his studies, he was recruited by Worldfavor. Worldfavor is a global digital platform and Software as a Service that makes it simple and efficient to access and share sustainability information and manage sustainability performance for companies. Their aim is to make all corporate sustainability information easily accessible for anyone in the cloud, enabling informed decisions and sustainable growth.
A lot of startups are looking for talents outside Sweden since it´s difficult to find certain talents here. Getting a work permit in Sweden for people outside EU often takes a long time and many people give up before they get the permit. Here´s Mladens story on how he finally got his work permit.
(Mladen in the middle with a red jacket)
How did you end up in Sweden?
Mladen: Even before high school I knew I wanted to work with software development and design. After doing my Bachelors in Computer Science, I wanted to apply for a Master’s program where I could learn and get experience within designing user interface, user experience and software interactions. My heart and all the Internet search results led to KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After getting accepted to the Human-computer Interaction programme I came to Stockholm in August 2014. It was the first time I came to Sweden as a Master’s student, not knowing almost anyone, experiencing new lifestyle, culture and university.
Was your plan to go back to Serbia after your studies or did you plan to get a job in Sweden all along?
Mladen: My plan was to get a job in Sweden even thought I love my home country. The more time I spend in Sweden, the more I realize how many different opportunities this country can offer. I did my Master thesis in a large corporate where I got my first full-time employment offer. However, the position was not exactly what I was looking for. Also, I wanted to have a more dynamic work environment and atmosphere, for which I would look forward to, every day.
I started looking at the startup community and visited SUP46´s and Stings´ “Join a Tech-startup” event. I didn’t meet Worldfavor that day but they heard about me and one day I received an e-mail from them, asking if I would be interested to work as their Front-end developer. I arranged a meeting with them already the next day. After meeting the team and getting to know more about the company and their business idea I felt that I really wanted to join Worldfavor. I got the position and eight months later, I am still very happy for my decision to join them! Working in a start-up environment is just what I needed and wanted. Also, I like working at SUP46, where we have our office, is a wonderful place to network and gain experience.
You waited for your Swedish work permit for 8 months. Do you know why you had to wait that long?
Mladen: As I am not the citizen of EU, I need to have a residence/work permit to live and work in Sweden. Knowing that Sweden is technologically advanced I expected to obtain the permit in a short notice, especially since I had already lived and studied in Sweden for a few years. However, despite having all the necessary documents that the Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) required, I thought: “OK, they are going to accept me very fast, but no”. At the time when I had to apply, there were a lot of refugees coming to Sweden, requesting for asylum from, guess where, no other place than the same Migration Agency.
As authorities said from Migration Agency, my work permit application was placed in a very long queue among other people, and I suppose also refugees. This queue lasted for 8 months. Meanwhile, I was not allowed to travel anywhere outside of Sweden! That was my first time, that I haven’t been home in Serbia for New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Serbian New Year’s Eve with my family and friends. At the end of March 2017 I finally got my residence/work permit approved. I couldn’t be happier (I even threw a party that day at my place). Now finally I can do some travelling again! The permit is valid for 2 years, and yes, it is valid from the day I applied, meaning that I have 1 year and 4 months left to go wherever I want, until I must apply for a new permit again at the end of 2018.
SUP46, together with other startups and organisations like Stockholm Chamber of Commerce are trying to convince Swedish politicians the need of a special queue at the Migration Agency for work permits so they can be handled fast and efficient. Our Swedish startups needs the best talents the world can offer so they can grow fast and become stronger. We want Sweden to become the most startup friendly country in the world. Read more about the Startupmanifesto.