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Swedish work permit rules 'misused': minister

Swedish work permit rules 'misused': minister

Published: 10 Oct 2011 11:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Oct 2011 11:39 GMT+02:00

The Swedish law on labour migration is being used as a means to access other EU labour markets with hundreds of migrants recently travelling onwards within the Schengen area without even passing customs at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

Some 200 Bangladeshi migrants have recently arrived in Sweden, holding work permits from a Swedish firm to enable them to work as berry pickers but they never worked in the country, and instead flew straight out of Arlanda Airport, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily.

“The government’s position is clear - it is absolutely intolerable if the rules are being misused,” Migration minister Tobias Billström told The Local on Monday.

Billström observed that while “we can discuss how well the control system works”, he pointed out that the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) is responsible for the assessment of visa applications and that in this case the applications were in fact revoked.

“The Migration Board is in constant contact with the border police,” he said as part of the agency's responsibility for tackling the problem of bogus contracts.

Almost since its introduction in 2008 the law allowing for labour migration has come under criticism with some arguing that it has allowed for a new major area of human trafficking.

Detective inspector Per Englund, who is tasked with investigating human trafficking at the Sweden's National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen), told SvD that the law was being exploited.

“There is a gap in the law. If you travel into Sweden with a valid permit, a valid paper, then it is not considered human trafficking,” he said.

Border police at the airport confirmed the situation to the newspaper and explained that there is little they can do when the migrants arrive with valid work permits.

The firm which submitted the applications for the work permits is a Swedish registered subsidiary of a Finnish recruitment company and according to the newspaper the Bangladeshis have paid significant sums to the firm for their visas.

Tobias Billström told The Local that the government is satisfied that existing legislation is sufficient with regards to both human smuggling and labour migration.

“Human trafficking is already regulated within the Aliens Act. One has to be clear that the present rules are working as intended,” he said.

“The law is not being used, it is being misused. There is a clear difference,” he said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:33 October 10, 2011 by skatty
May be; somehow, on the way to Sweden, the 200 Bangladeshi have got information about what has happened for the previous berry pickers in Sweden (they have been cheated on their wage and accommodation!), and have decided to change their final destination; even though, it might disappoint Swedish Migration board, which has counted on getting 200 fools!
19:17 October 10, 2011 by prince T
Y are not staying here. I thought Sweden dont want them.
19:46 October 10, 2011 by Smile123
I never good news on thelocal. All news are promoting hate against immigrants or muslims.

Thelocal should pick some good news.
20:22 October 10, 2011 by Scansson
@Smile123

The "Promoting" as you call it, is Good News... REALLY GOOD NEWS : )

A big THANKS goes out to The Local for publishing the truths about what's really going on in Sverige!
20:27 October 10, 2011 by Just_Kidding
Morphi's law for politicians: Any system that leaves itself open to exploitation will be exploited.

Unfortunately the real victims will be the law abiding citizens and honest immigrants, not the careless politicians.
21:03 October 10, 2011 by Smile123
Swede should not forget their past-time when they could hardly find a food to eat, at the time they have immigrated to other countries for better live and work and as result you find millions of Swedes who are living aboard.

Why you guys are jealous? White guys working in Asian countries and Middle east make a lot of money, even tax free and everybody respect them, why you guys act like little kid?
05:33 October 11, 2011 by theibmsstate
No this rule is not against muslims or immigrants, this is true work permit is misused,rules and regulations must be good.sweden is good country and sweden gives rights to everyone, @smile dont say white or black or asian, all the Humans are same,i am muslim i never had problem in sweden,they respect everyone.
08:30 October 11, 2011 by prince T
I am so sure that you are not a real muslim @theibmsstate. I am even afraid of certain muslims myself. But not in a discriminative way
08:52 October 11, 2011 by sebwojo
why do you alwaya pick people out side sweden every summer when in stockholm somalies wake up and roiter around the centrum they claim there a no jobs .first use this suplus labour then think of importing more
10:05 October 11, 2011 by OUIJA
The news says that 200 Bangladeshi arrived to Arlanda and then they kept on going. Where? To Finland? Or perhaps they did not keep on going but are hiding someplace waiting for the generosity of the Swedish subsidies.

On the other hand, Billström must be reading comics because he does not know what is going on. He declares that "the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) is responsible for the assessment of visa applications and that in this case the applications were in fact revoked", while the border police "at the airport confirmed the situation to the newspaper and explained that there is little they can do when the migrants arrive with valid work permits."

So the question is: Did they have valid work permits, or not? Were they revoked (Billström) prior to their arrival or after? If they were revoked prior to their arrival, why were they allowed to land?

Typical case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does. No wonder anybody can come to Sweden, the promised land.
05:31 October 12, 2011 by theibmsstate
@Prince T i know why your angry,i know bangladeshi get angry soon, but this is reality that Bangladeshi Berry pickers went some where else. you must accept that they did fraud.in the future no bangladeshi will come to sweden
14:13 October 12, 2011 by orangetree
Ahhh migrationboard !!!! Once I saw an add about a company looking for Turkish speaking staff. I m native speaker so I applied. I thought i was a strong canditate but no turn back! 6 m later I saw another add and now they have another add. before I apply I checked their registration. Quite small company with 6 staff but each time looking for 2 staff. I had the strong impression that these adds are just to fullfil some regulations. They are regularly getting working permit for some people. And I donot think it is fair or legal. So I wrote to migrationsverket and they replied that If i have some wrong impression , I should ctc with the company.,Hejjj come on,,, I am making a claim here!! God Who is working in Migrationboard!!!
15:44 October 12, 2011 by Lavaux
Why is this Sweden's problem? The migrant workers will follow harvests from north to south as various crops come in. They're probably in France picking grapes right now.
19:31 October 16, 2011 by OLSL
2Lavaux

haha that sounds like a carefully reasoned argument!
21:27 October 19, 2011 by salalah
The government seems to be in its own cloud without reality check. How could they possibly think the system would NOT be misused. Those poor people will do anything to get to EU and Sweden is serving them the means on a plate.

http://www.coolaspel.se/spel/Angry+Birds+Online
19:57 October 29, 2011 by myself_eumesmo_själv
Let me see if i understood… they used Sweden as a gateway to bring people and send them back some other country within the EU?

I don't see any xenophobic thoughts here, the problem here is that a company is getting profits by using the law on their favour, just doesn't seem right to me. But I don't understand the difference between the Swedish law and the laws from other EU members, couldn't the same thing happen on any other country? I mean a company practising the exact same thing?
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