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Students suspected of residency permit fraud

Students suspected of residency permit fraud

Published: 25 Jun 2011 12:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Jun 2011 12:28 GMT+02:00

Thousands of foreign students are abusing their residency rights by never attending college in what could be a widespread visa fraud, according to a new report from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

"We assume these are doing something completely different, that they work rather than study," said Michael Parzyszek of the EU border control agency Frontex to Sveriges Radio (SR).

A report carried out by the Swedish Migration Board suggests that up to one third of students who are granted resident visas in Sweden do not show up for class and are getting away with it because the rules are so slack and controls are so rarely undertaken, according to SR.

Sten Alstander at the Swedish Migration Board admits that his organisation is powerless to stop the widespread abuse of the system, which could involve several thousand students.

"No sadly, that is the way it has happened. It hasn't been our responsibility to check and no other agency has shouldered it either," he told SR.

Some 15,000 people arrive every year with a one-year visa that allows them to study in Sweden.

Up until now all you needed to obtain a residency permit was a letter of admission from a college, as well as proof that you have enough money to survive in Sweden during the study period and to pay an application fee of about 1000 dollars.

There are very few checks to see if they actually spend any time at all in their allotted colleges, while many instead find work, the report claims.

The last time any kind of investigation was carried out by authorities, it showed a similar result, that some 25% were not showing up at college. Nothing has been done since to tighten up the rules.

However the situation may change.

Starting this autumn, the system of tuition fees will take effect in Sweden for foreign students.

For the first time colleges will have to report students who do not turn up for classes to the immigration office, which will then have the power to revoke the permit.

However, according to the Migration Board, the students will still only have to attend and pass studies comprising ten weeks out of the 40 week academic year to qualify for a permit.

TT/The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:32 June 25, 2011 by Dazzler
Gee, imagine that.
14:32 June 25, 2011 by A SAFARI
who edited this report?!please,check your errors!
14:41 June 25, 2011 by ariefc
the problem here is that residence permit allow us student to work anywhere without limitation. Thus, this trigger this kind of situation, which i found quite interesting since difficult for international student to find part time job without good swedish skill.
14:43 June 25, 2011 by A SAFARI
Who edited this report?!Please,check your errors!Hope it's not the midsummer beer hangover that's responsible for the errors...
15:24 June 25, 2011 by BBEthio
So how do u expect me to survive in this country?
15:28 June 25, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
@Safari

Perhaps you need to check your own errors as well.
16:06 June 25, 2011 by JulieLou40
WHY isn't it their responsibility to check??? They're the ones giving the permits out!!
16:08 June 25, 2011 by A SAFARI
@Valdemaratterdag

thanks so much..but you know I'm not a journalist,guess it's allowed in my case,not what's been published for the whole world to see.you know what i mean?
16:29 June 25, 2011 by belardo
can they find work?
16:40 June 25, 2011 by old git
typical Swedish admin denying any responsibility for what obviously involves them, but if these "false students" do not get any other financial aides from Swedish taxpayers, then who cares? somehow they are contributing to the Swedish economy...
16:42 June 25, 2011 by Iraniboy
First, if a student works full-time then he or she cannot pass half of its courses then they won't get resident permirt for the next year!

Second, if a student finds a proper job he would apply for a work permit which is worth more than student permit.

Third, from this year a student should pay 100000 SEK per year, it would be ridicolus to pay this amount and work for less than that!!

Forth, this new mechanism that allows universities to report students to migrationsverket is a really good idea.

So Migrationsverket should focus on their lack of ability to process a simple student application in less than 4 months and stop blaming other things!
16:47 June 25, 2011 by jostein
This is all on the head of the politicians. They make the rules, they decide who monitors what.

I wonder if the reason is that sweden has an unproportionate number of "riksdagsmän"? Its not really an elite club, maybe the parties cant find that many clever people so they settle for yessaying studies in mediocrity without education, except for the regular processing in the party machine? I mean, sure, immigration is handled with such incompetence that its flabbergasting but its a study in prussian orderliness compared to education?

Anyway, being stupid, inept and incompetent does not excuse you from your responsibilities. Hopefulle it will be possible to try these people in court, before not to long.
17:05 June 25, 2011 by eppie
So what is the issue here? These people apparently want to pay the fee, and support the economy for a year and instead of getting a valuable education they are working instead?

It seems they are being abused by someone else (forced to go to Sweden to make some money or so?).

I also found that I didn't need classes to pass my tests, maybe that is the same for these people?
17:25 June 25, 2011 by Iraniboy
The recent SOU or 'Staten offentiliga utredningar' about migration plicies was perfectly balanced and mentioned all lacking in Swedish migration policies. I actually think that both government and Riksdag have a good understanding of what should be changed and what should be imporved so I think that the problem is not there. It is more of incompotent administration inside Migrationsverket. They fail to realize that they should do job faster! They have also failed to understand that if there is any abuse in the procedue they should mend to avoid the abuse instead of shouting it out loud!
17:38 June 25, 2011 by spaniard81
Well if there is any truth in the facts that 1/3 of students misuse the resident permit then this is a bad news for prospective new students, for Swedish education system and economy.

First of all it suggests that education institution are not keeping a check on their students' progress, and that there is no quality control. And if that is the case I won't be applying for study to such a place.

If the industries here are employing students (as cheap labor) then they are only creating a bad situation as it is a shortcut to outsourcing.

The rational of introducing tuition fee is flawed if it is to control students from working. Introducing tuition fee (145,000 SEK per year) means only rich students can apply, and as we know, being rich doesn't guarantee that one is talented. So, there are chances that Sweden will loose bright students to Germany or other EU country.

If they really want to control students from working then the German model is a good example. On a student visa, a student is allowed to work for 90 full days in a year. This is not a lot, but helps student earn a bit to support their cost of living. And employers are required to follow this norm and students sign a contract for the job on these condition. Of course if you are working illegal i.e. without contract then no one can control it, but if you get caught both student and the company is in trouble. So Sweden should have tightened this regulation, instead of introducing a fee that is at par with US, and to be honest, for that money I will choose US.

But i think administration and bureaucratic processes evolve with time, and things will fall in place in time to come.
18:14 June 25, 2011 by me_i_sverige
Why don't they look their neighbor (Danmark) for inspiration :-D
18:22 June 25, 2011 by IranianBoy
misinformation: the students are not monitored

arguement: after one year of study, students have to show that they have passed enough university credits so that they can extend their visas. so after one year, their visa automatically expires. now if migrationsverket wants to create an arm for itself to monitor each student in each semester, then i can say that that is wasting the taxpayers' money. monitor them to do what? to void the visa before that one year has passed? believe me if someone comes as a student and does not attend the classes, he/she would not show up to be deported by migrationverket.

another important fact that is missing here is the statistics from oter countries. google: student visa abuse

Canada: bit.ly/iodDit

United Kingdom: bbc.in/9aFzf5

United States: bit.ly/hJhPKe

So student visa abuse is a global issue. so when designing rules to attract students, the lawmaker should do the loss/benefit analyses. I'm sure the benefit that Sweden or any other country recieves is far more than the loss. also as someone else mentioned, if somebody is working and is not attending classes, then he/she is not using the taxpayers' money.

what is interesting is that how the writer has tried to relate the reduction in abuse of student visa to the tuition fee system that from this year is going to break the education system in Sweden and impose big losses to this country. nice job!
18:46 June 25, 2011 by IranianBoy
also a very funny fact: if one third of 15000 student do not show up in classes and as the writer "guesses" they start working, it means that 5000 find work! how come this remaining 10000 cannot find work at all?! even low paying jobs!!
20:49 June 25, 2011 by here for the summer
The Us used to not have a system to follow up students either. That changed after the 9/11 attack since all or most of the bombers were in the US on student visas and had skipped the college and disappeared .
22:04 June 25, 2011 by aveminus
well the news implies that 5000 students find part time/ full time jobs in sweden every year :D ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I fell off my chair laughing :D

Even my Swedish friends find it hard to find a full time job for themselves :)

Can you please write an article about the job agencies that manages to get them the jobs :D I would also like to apply through them :) SERIOUSLY!!!!! :D
22:06 June 25, 2011 by Iraniboy
@here for sumer and wenddiver

You are again back on your paranoias created by propagandas you used to hear back in the US. If you have come to Sweden, you should forget those propagandas you used to hear on Faux News,... and listen to SVT1 and 2 instead!
22:58 June 25, 2011 by graphixperson
That is not all they ask for on your application, I had to submit so much more stuff. Just glad I got it approved before they make the process even worse. I don't know if it could be much worse than having to make a trip to Washington though. What a bureaucratic mess.
00:10 June 26, 2011 by darky
Lets see how many students will come here again. Why worry urselves Migrationsverket?? U rem school fees??
01:02 June 26, 2011 by Observant
Well this is typical of Migrationsverket. The Student, Visitor, husband, Wife or Partner's first impression of how Sweden actually works.

To read the Web Site on how to get a visa is one thing BUT in reality it is completely the opposite.

MIGRATIONSVERKET needs overhauling from te TOP down. A new Minister is needed with guts to do what he/she is paid to do. To make decisions which MIGRATIONSVERKET'w workers will take notice and comply with.

The truth of the current matter is that even the Minister CANNOT make MIGRATIONSVERKET do anything they do not agree with.

So what the hell is going on in this, fast becoming, crappy country?

A Student Visa should permit a student to work FULL TIME ONLY in holidays. The remainder of their time should be STUDYING. That is what they come here for!

But knowing the Swedish system very well and with the knowledge that the Universities "must" report Students non attendances to Migrationsverket will make NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever. Migrationsverket will ONLY use this as a statistic about Students not attending classes. NOTHING WILL BE DONE as in keeping with the Swedish System on "Human Rights" and "Democracy".

There are hundreds of people without a job here in Sweden who WOULD do the work better than those in MIGRATIONSVERKET and it is time to let those unemployed do it..
01:35 June 26, 2011 by imonx
Sweden should close the doors to foreign students and lets see how many universities will still be open.

What Jobs do international students exactly do in Sweden, distribute newspapers, reklam adverts distribution, cleaning in a restaurant etc.

Many Swedes treat foreign students with great disrespect, if they want to get a taste of what it feels they should work and study full-time and lets see how many swedes can do that full time.

These people pay taxes and contribute into pensions that they never collect back because most of them leave the system.

I will listen to a better argument, what exactly has the government done to fight racism in the classroom, why is there a roof for marks for foreign students.

While Sweden has offered education free in the past, studying is not fun, Please treat foreign students with dignity they deserve
01:56 June 26, 2011 by subina401
I think it could be true but is there any opportunities in Sweden for international students in the period of their study ? due to the reason they should move to others EU countries like Finland ,Norway ,Denmark ,Germany or others. It is not good by leaving their study but at least if they find any possible part time job here then they would not leave their study .The new rule implemented by Swedish government since from this august about fees will not be effective because as we know that 90% of the international students will not come to Sweden by paying that huge amount of money instead they will go others countries like US,Australia,Norway,Finland and others .The possible solution could be creation of extra jobs and making appropriate rule for international students as that they will be sure ,they will find part time job here. otherwise , i am less optimistic that neither students will study properly nor number of international students increase here.
11:02 June 26, 2011 by Puffin
@Observant

"A new Minister is needed with guts to do what he/she is paid to do. To make decisions which MIGRATIONSVERKET'w workers will take notice and comply with.

Suggest you take a course in basic Swedish government and politics - if you knew anything about the subject you would know that type of direct steering is not possible under the Swedish model - Swedish Ministers do not directly manage executive agencies in this way owing to the 400 year old principle of independent administration.

@ imonx

You seem to believe that Swedish univerisities are way more dependent on international students than is the case.

OK some of the small regional colleges that lack full univereity status will be suffering now that they cannot admit huge numbers of international students to attract government grants - however for the more prestigious universities the loss of international student only accounts for 1-2% of their student numbers which is likely to be offset by the rise in Swedish applicants

Of course it is tough to work and study at the same time - however international students are meant to cover their own living expenses and have the money prior to moving here - it is one of the conditions of the visa - thereforeor have youscammed the system and pretended to have the money for your living expenses?

There is not mark ceiling for international students - on the courses that I have worked on international students have been among the best grades - and also the worst

@ subina401

How can Sweden create "extra jobs" for international students when 10% of Swedes are unemployed? Be realistic!

While there are scholarships for students from developing countries available through the Swedish Institutue many Swedes have questioned why they have been paying their tax kronors to may for masters degrees for students from wealthier developed countries from USA, Canada, Australia etc
13:10 June 26, 2011 by emreg
I'm here as a masters student for two years. Second year it took me 8 months to to extend my visa even though I passed all my courses successfully on first year.

So I can say that if you want to abuse the system you don't have to be student. You can just apply with blank forms. It takes a year for Migrationsverket to process your applicaiton. And during this time you are allowed to work. So instead of this statistics if they measure how bad Migrationsverket is I think it will be more beneficial for the all of us.

Also some people said that students shouldn't be able to work. I don't understand how they come up to this result. During my thesis project I started work with a company and they offered me a job at the end. Can you imagine you apply work permit which takes half year to work with a company for your thesis. Some people has no idea of how things work and they come here and make comments. Well its still ok but when this type of people works for the government output is this news. Migrationsverket is overload with extra 1/3 more application so it takes them 8 months to give the visa. Ohh gooodd.... God bless us from people who has no idea about his job and tries to blame us for it.
16:26 June 26, 2011 by prince T
We should not worry about this anymore. Student pay through their nose to get here. Most of them are moving to other places. I dont agree that anyone will pay that obscene amount of fees and not go to school
17:19 June 26, 2011 by asprilla
Umm Hmm....it really saddens my heart when i read articles of this sort. In my opinion,Swedish people are very boring, selfish, disrespectful, carefree and racists.

We are tired of their crazy allegations !!! We are fed up with their attitudes in relation to racial sentiments. As a result of these several reasons most international students will be changing their routes to school in countries where they gonna stand chances or better opportunities to develop and build upon their social life, improve on their language skills,esp English etc.

I think the Migration board should work their asses off and stop drinking beers !!

Anyway those of us who benefited from free tuition,all we can say is THANKS but on the other-hand our social behaviors as well as inter human relations have deterioted drastically.
19:21 June 26, 2011 by imonx
@Puffin

For your info I lived in Sweden and still have a right to do so. Your statistics are flawed if you say the prestigious Swedish Universities only have 2% of their student population as international students. It is not up to 1%. The masters programs have more than 10% international presence.

By the way how many prestigious University does a small country like Sweden have you make me laugh. You make an argument about regional colleges and universities, sorry I was still in Sweden when the argument came up, all colleges are classified Hogskolan and have the same standards if you like call it Universitet.

You make a case for marks and assert that it is not true many international students have protested and had their marks adjusted just letting you know, I will be silent on that and silence speak volumes there is a strong racist culture still going on in Sweden your views will not change that.
15:14 June 27, 2011 by N0DE
These 'run-away' students only come here after getting admission in college or university. Whoever is giving them admission, should be penalized. It doesn't require a rocket science to figure out who is a genuine student and who is just coming to sweden for getting into EU (by past results, years of graduation, previous jobs they were working etc. etc ). Secondly,its a common knowledge that students from some countries (like Iran and African Countries) never go back to their homeland, in our class rooms we often see a 40 years iranian or 45 years african , they are never going to stay in Sweden, they ll run away seeking asylum. I guess majority of these 1/3 students are from these two places.

Generalization sometimes is bad, not all students are 'run-away' as this article tries to imply.
19:46 June 27, 2011 by TheLight
@ NODE

You are so illiterate, stereotyping Africans and Iranians in this century. I wonder what kind of secondary / tertiary education you get here in Sweden.
20:53 June 27, 2011 by here for the summer
@thelight it is true that country of origin and the economic and political situation affects the percentages of the applicants that are just trying to get residency. It is a fact. It is also sad when people unjustly cry racism it makes the term weaker when used against true racism.
08:51 June 28, 2011 by TheLight
@ here for the summer

Racism is not a problem, every where in the world people discriminate against people. Blacks hate whites, whites hate brown, brown hates black .. so what ; every specie must do all it can to stay alive...It is called survival.

Racism will only become a problem when the perpetrators are able to take it across boarders, for example go to Iran or Africa to discriminate against the people there, I can assure you that you will run for your dear life.

What has racism got do with our discussion on this forum?

Still, I wonder what kind of secondary / tertiary education you get here in Sweden.
10:21 June 28, 2011 by DAVID T
@BBEthio

"So how do u expect me to survive in this country?"

According to the rules you had to provide proof that you have enough money to survive in Sweden during the study period. If the proof was false then you lied on your application and quite rightly should be kicked out
22:29 June 28, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
its getting hot in here
04:11 July 2, 2011 by ceclancy
The fact that Migrationsverket is not keeping track of the people they let in, specifically students, is quite frankly not surprising in any way. It's probably pretty hard for them to keep track of people without personal numbers! With a student residence permit, you're granted stay in Sweden for one academic year at a time, regardless of the length of your course. So you can apply for your permit as soon as you're accepted in April or May, but you might not get it until August or September, or even later, and the permit will always expire the following June. Guess what? Skatteverket won't give you (non-EU you) a personal number unless you have a permit for 12 months! no exceptions. Not having a personal number in Sweden basically makes you untrackable so I can understand why Migrationsverket doesn't want that job. However, the universities should not have this problem since they should at least know which students are getting grades higher than zero, but university administration in this country is a whole different story....
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