Swedish Business in Australia Awards 2017

The finalists and winners of this year’s Awards were presented at the Chamber’s Annual Christmas Dinner 23 November 2017, at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, in front of business leaders, colleagues and friends of Swedish Australian businesses.

The event attracted 180 members and guests from the Swedish Australian business community and the evening included a beautiful Swedish Lucia performance by children from the Swedish School in Sydney, a special welcome by guest of honour HE Mr Pär Ahlberger Ambassador of Sweden to Australia, an amazing Swedish Christmas buffet,
 presentation by guest speaker Mr Nick Kaye, CEO Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and the announcement of the 2017 Swedish Business in Australia award winners. The event offers an excellent opportunity for companies large and small to promote their company or services to a discerning audience, develop the Swedish connections and invite clients and employees to a Christmas event with special insight into Swedish culture and traditions.

The winners of the 2017 awards are:

Excellence in Business Enterprise – HUSQVARNA GROUP


Excellence in Innovation – COREDINATION


Excellence in Small Business – FIKA SWEDISH KITCHEN

Young Business Executive/Young Entrepreneur – NIKLAS OLSSON FOUNDER OF BALTO & PREMONITION


A special thank you goes to the company sponsors for the evening.







Marriage Equality – An opportunity to strengthen the social bonds between Australia and Sweden

In 2009, laws to adopt ‘gender-neutral’ marriages were passed by the Swedish Parliament, making Sweden just the seventh country in the world to pass laws to allow all couples, regardless of gender, to marry. This moment in Sweden’s history reflected how most of Sweden already felt about the formal union of same-sex couples.  This move was a reflection of the social fabric of Swedish culture; a culture of acceptance and equality.

The Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce celebrates diversity and equality among our members, many of whom resided in Sweden during the time of the change to Swedish law.  We are now hopeful of a further opportunity to strengthen the social bonds between Sweden and Australia.  

Through the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey, Australians have the opportunity to bring Australian laws broadly in line with those in Sweden, and more than two-dozen other countries around the world.  The Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce proudly supports marriage equality, and looks forward to celebrating our two countries shared values.

An exciting evening at the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship for SACC Seminar about Entrepreneurship & Innovation

On Wednesday 4 October SACC organised a business seminar at the newly opened Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE), led by their distinguished CEO Nick Kaye. With a list of highly experienced panelist invited, we had high hopes for the evening, which we believed were exceeded by far. The panelists were;

  • Dr. Leila Alem, Entrepreneur, Digital innovator, Scientist & Speaker
  • Nick Kaye, CEO of Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE)
  • Professor Michael Nilsson, Director Hunter Medical Research Institute in Newcastle
  • Charlie Macdonald, CIO Schenker Australia Pty Ltd
  • Paul Illmer, VP Sales Strategy and Support, Volvo Group Australia
  • Per Edwards, CEO Coredination, Strategist, Marketer, Serial Entrepreneur & Innovator

Although the seminar ran mid-week during the school holidays we had a full crowd in the inspirational venue of the SSE. With the room set-up as a square, where everyone faced inwards and at all times saw all faces in the room, it created an engaging environment which got all attendees involved in the interesting topic discussion.

Mikael Dahlgren (Alfa Laval & Director of the SACC board) welcomed us to the event and introduced Nick Kaye who gave us a short intro and background about the SSE. Then the former Swedish Trade Commissioner turned start-up founder with KingHill Pty Ltd., Jonas Lindholm moderated the session during the evening. During the evening the panelists and the audience went on a journey touching subjects as varying as gender equality, drones changing the way of stocktaking at DB Schenker, the Government´s role in fostering innovation, what Australia is doing right and what could be improved, how to attract and incentivise the right people in the future all in a high-paced and fun manner.

Without summarising the whole discussion some of the key points were;

  • The Australian debate on the subject tends to focus on the negative aspects (low ranking in OECD on the rate of commercialisation of innovations) rather than acknowledge the positive side (for example the innovation rate is high and that some segments really are world class).
  • The Swedish Government´s social security system has traditionally meant less risk for Swedish entrepreneurs to try their wings than the system here. Both Australia and Sweden could arguably learn from the Silicon Valley, where failed start-up attempts are regarded as prerequisite for a successful entrepreneur.
  • Large companies are slow and global governance models are very strict – yet most innovations seem to come from people daring the norm of their times and stepping outside current regulations. This is a key challenge to solve for international giants.
  • If you are an innovative person and/or SME and would like to work with the large companies, it is important to understand that they are typical neither fast, agile nor flexible – but will have a lot of resources to push for the right solution if given proper time and in the right manner (i.e. governance model again…).
  • There is no secret formula or one model that fits all – but you need people with courage who dare to try something new to create innovation.

The evening ended with networking drinks where discussions on the subject continued and all seemed to have enjoyed the format of the discussion. If you have ideas for focus & topics for future SACC seminars please contact us! Thanks to SSE, the panelists and moderator and everyone how attended to make this a great evening!


SWEDELINK Newsletter Spring 2017

SWEDELINK Newsletter Winter 2017

457 Visa Program changes and their implications

You will have found it hard to miss the Australian Government’s recent announcement of the abolishment of the 457 visa and other upcoming changes. In many ways, when it comes to law, knowing a little is worse than knowing nothing at all; so keeping this in mind, I am going to try to highlight a few key points from those things that we know right now.

Most importantly, those who have already been granted their 457 visas will not be affected. Unfortunately, those who applied before April 19, 2017, but have not yet been granted their visa will still be affected by the coming changes and will need to fulfil the additional requirements.

Pending applications based on a removed occupation will not be successful. These applications will need to be withdrawn. Individuals who withdraw their applications will receive a refund on the application fees.

For those people here on a 457 visa at the moment, there will be a ‘grandfathering’ arrangement and they will continue under the conditions of that visa.

However, visa holders should note the changes to the English language and skills requirements if they plan to change employment, change their occupation or seek a further subclass 457 visa.


The Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa will be replaced with the completely new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

  • The occupation lists that underpin the 457 visa have been significantly condensed from 651 to 435 occupations, with 216 occupations removed and access to 59 other occupations restricted. The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been renamed as the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and will be updated every six months based on advice from the Australian Department of Employment. The other occupations list used for skilled migration, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) is renamed as Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).


  • The maximum duration of 457 visas issued from this date for occupations that are on the STSOL will be two years with an optional two-year extension allowed only once.
    Occupations on the MLTSSL will continue to be issued for a maximum duration of four years.


  • The two-year short-term visa program will offer no prospect of permanent residency. The four-year medium-term visa holders will be able to apply for permanent residency.


  • Four-year visas will require a higher standard of English language skills; a minimum of IELTS 5 (or equivalent test) in each test component. The English language exemption salary threshold, which exempted applicants whose salary was over $96,400 from the English language requirement, will be removed.


  • Policy settings about the training benchmark requirement will be made clearer in legislative instruments. Training requirements for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers will be strengthened and are expected to be more carefully monitored.


  • Provision of penal clearance certificates will become mandatory.


  • Two-years’ work experience will be required for both visas.


  • In the majority of cases, mandatory Labour market testing will be required; unless an international obligation applies. Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements. A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers will also be applied.


Citizenship Test

The Australian Government has announced sweeping changes to citizenship laws, which seek to place an emphasis on “Australian values” and ask applicants to prove their commitment to Australia. How this will be assessed is not yet clear and consultation with the public will be undertaken before the Government settles on the questions has been suggested.

The new measures would see migrants face a tougher citizenship test which will assess their commitment to Australia and their attitudes to religious freedom and gender equality. Those with a history of family violence or organised crime may also be barred from citizenship.

Applicants will be asked to demonstrate that they have integrated into Australian society. This could potentially mean by joining clubs or by providing evidence that they are employed and their children are in school.

If an applicant fails the test three times they will have to wait another two years before they can sit it again.

There is a major chance is that migrants who have become permanent residents will now have to wait four years before they can apply for citizenship. Previously this was to have been, at the time of application, one-year on PR as well as residing in Australia for at least the previous four years.

The current Government will have to pass the changes through Parliament but if they are successful, those who apply for citizenship from April 20 will be subjected to the new legislation.


Benjamin Sandqvist is a director or Access Australia Visa and Migration Services (AAMVS), and a member of the board of the Swedish-Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Melbourne chapter.

AAMVS is a registered migration agency and specialises in providing advice to individuals, families and businesses wanting to work, live or study in Australia. The AAMVS team are highly experienced and have worked with many clients to support them to start a new life in Australia. We have a thorough understanding of Australia’s visa and immigration processes and to help navigate it quickly and efficiently.

Benjamin is the honorary-consul of Sweden to Australia based in Melbourne, and can be contacted on 03 8669 1930 or benjamin@aamvs.com.au

SWEDELINK Newsletter Autumn 2017

Pilates for a strong and balanced body

It’s no secret that Pilates is an essential part in many athletics and celebrities exercise program. Tennis player Roger Federer incorporated Pilates in his training, and we all know how well his body is working on the court.

Due to the lifestyle most of us are living today are bodies are starting to develop aches and pains that are 100% related to “bad” lifestyles. And on top of not moving enough, we are under constant stress and the body can’t relax.

Pilates is a whole body work-out that strengthens you core and balance, and is great for you muscle and brain connection. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

Because Pilates is very focus on mind and muscle connection during the exercises it takes a lot of concentration but also very calming, you feeling centered and aware of your body. This is why Pilates has been proven to significantly reduce stress levels, improve your memory and improve function of nervous system.

So even though the mind gets a nice workout the whole body is challenged. Each exercise is performed with attention to proper breathing techniques and abdominal muscle control. To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week. You may notice postural improvements after 10 to 20 sessions.

Pilates caters for everyone, from beginner to advanced. You can perform exercises using your own body weight, or with the help of various pieces of equipment.

Here are 6 reasons why you should incorporate Pilates into your training regime:

  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves core stability
  • Develops kinetic awareness
  • Helps prevent injuries
  • Improves balance
  • Pilates Creates Strength Without Bulk

The Swedish Pilates Studio is a boutique Pilates Studio located in beautiful Glen Iris on Glen Iris Rd just opposite from Ferndale Park. We offer Pilates in small, friendly and personal classes with exercises that are gentle and safe, yet very effective. Birgitta Thorborg is the Director and Principal Pilates Instructor of The Swedish Pilates Studio. “I want to provide a place where you can meet like-minded people, gain inspiration and recharge your energy.”

What most companies don’t consider when hiring expat staff

With the globalized world we now live in, it’s hardly a surprise that more and more people move countries or regions to find better opportunities for work, study or try a different lifestyle for a while.


Some relatively recent research shows that there were roughly 50.5 million expats globally in 2013, an increase by about 2.4% per year since 2009. That’s a lot of people! The majority of these expats were individual workers (73.6%) with corporate transferees being only 1.0%. Other expats (defined as non-employed spouses and children) made up 12.8% of all expats. If we were to use these stats conservatively it means that at least 505,000 corporates get relocated internationally every year for a specific role.


To drill down further, only 28% of companies have tools in place to measure if the relocation is successful or not. That means that 72% of companies don’t even measure it! Most senior relocations costs a company at least $150,000, but often way more than that. And the return on this huge investment of time and money is only measured by 28% of companies?


These stats don’t even capture all expats. As more and more people move overseas for a part of their life, I can’t help but notice that many companies who end up hiring expat staff, don’t fully understand how a big move impacts a person and their family.


The three biggest issues I see time and time again when talking to expats who have moved internationally:


  • Moving to a new country is much more than just finding a home. If you’re lucky the company will cover shipping of your most important items and furniture, some help to find a new home and maybe your flights as well. This is part of a big move, but certainly not the whole picture.
  • The majority of people who relocate don’t get any support with cultural integration or coaching before, during or after their move. There seems to be an expectation for the individual expat to ‘just deal with it‘. According to Ernst and Young’s study, 50% of the companies participating said they had cultural coaching and support in place. Based on what I hear from my network and clients this is actually very rare.
  • It’s not just about your staff member! Most people relocate with a partner or family. They too have to some extent been uprooted and they won’t be able to get active at work or in social circles straight away. The partner going to work everyday often has to deal with the guilt of ‘dragging the family with them‘ whereas the partner at home often struggles socially and culturally to feel like they belong. If companies provide support for the whole family to some extent, the family will be happier and the employee can focus more on work and worry a lot less about how things are at home. Failed relocations are very costly for everyone involved!

You might feel that “If someone decides to move far away, they must surely be prepared to pay for it, bit financially and emotionally.” Yes, they have to be willing to invest time, money and effort to create change. But this should be matched, if not exceeded, by a smart employer. Imagine how much more the staff member can contribute to their new role if the pain points above are covered!


Relocation support and coaching is a very small cost to pay to help your investment in the person, their family and your own company grow.


Relocation strategist, blogger and speaker, Emmy Petersson is passionate about helping expats to a balanced and happy relocation, regardless where in the world they are moving to and who is coming with them.


Emmy offers individual and corporate relocation mentoring services and you can connect with Emmy here.

SWEDELINK Newsletter Summer 2016-2017