Neetesh Agrawal and his wife Pooja Bansal left India to work in Sweden. They are both pleased with having their degrees in engineering evaluated by the Swedish Council for Higher Education.

The couple moved to Lund in Sweden from Vidisha in central India in 2013, when Neetesh received a two-year contract with an Indian company. Pooja came along and looked for a job while she was studying Swedish for immigrants, SFI, and Swedish for professionals, SFX.

Image of Neetesh Agrawal, an Indian engineer.

“At the time, we did not know about the Swedish Public Employment Service, which could have referred us to an education evaluation. Hence, we didn’t do this in the beginning which we think delayed Poojas search for a job. When I a few years later heard about the evaluation service from a colleague, we both applied”, Neetesh says.

Greater competition in India

Today Neetesh and his wife work as engineers, but only Pooja has used her recognition statement in applying for a job. Neetesh has so far only needed to show his bachelor's degree, which is in English. He works as a software engineer at Opera Software in Linköping.

“In Sweden, there is great freedom at work, and there are laws and unions that regulate work life," he says. “It’s a tolerant environment – everyone has the same rights, it is not hierarchical and there is help for people who feel stressed, for example.”

In India, there is generally more pressure and competition at work, he says:

“Even if you are very skilled, it's not easy to get a job – lots of people compete for one available position. Also, generally Indian outsourcing companies are not that great at taking care of their employees, unlike companies who make their own product.”

A recognition statement is valuable

Everyone who wants to work or is planning to study in Sweden may apply for an evaluation of their qualifications at the Swedish Council for Higher Education. They will then receive a recognition statement that shows what their education corresponds to in the Swedish system. This service is free of charge and can be of help when looking for a job, however it is not required for working in Sweden.

“I really think you should apply for a recognition statement, especially if you are new in Sweden,” says Neetesh. “Even though my certificate is in English, it might not make much sense here. The statement may also be useful if something happens, like if you lose your job. More people should know about the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s service!”

The number of applications from people with a higher education from India is currently increasing every year. For January to November 2018, India was in third place with 550 applications. The highest number of applications UHR received came from Syria (1480) and Iraq (616 applications), respectively. The total number of applications for higher education was 10 301 for the above period.