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Sweden urged to amend 'wife import' rules

Sweden urged to amend 'wife import' rules

Published: 30 Jun 2012 16:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Jun 2012 16:23 GMT+02:00

The two-year rule before which married immigrant spouses can qualify for permanent residency and which has been blamed for forcing women into abusive relationships, should be abolished according to a new government inquiry.

According to a survey of social services, police, hospitals and women's refuges the extent of abuse suffered by women who came to the country to marry a Swedish man, is widespread.

Several thousand women have been forced to seek help, according to Eva Eriksson who carried out the inquiry on behalf of the government, pointing that a large number of children are thus affected too.

"The children are rendered invisible today, both in legislation and in how society handles them," she said when presenting the inquiry at the Government Offices in Stockholm.

The two-year rule in practice often becomes a three-year rule due to processing delays meaning that the residential status of many women is entirely reliant on their husband.

In order to the submit an application for permanent residency the relationship furthermore has to remain intact.

According to Eriksson the two-year regulation needs to be removed in the longer term.

She furthermore recommends that the Swedish government tightens checks to prevent errant men from being given the right to bring wives and children into Sweden.

The law currently focuses only on the women and their reasons for coming to Sweden, while the men's motives are not covered by law, she pointed out in an opinion article in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Friday.

The threat of violence is exacerbated, Eriksson argued, due to the often isolated situation of the women and their lack of Swedish language skills, added to the threat of deportation were they to break off the relationship.

Eriksson argued that the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) should not grant residency if there is a risk of the woman being subjected to violence.

"The focus should be on the first application, not that you have to wait two years to see if you are going to get hit or not," she said.

The Migration Board, in collaboration with the Swedish embassies across the world ensure that the women who come to Sweden "should get all the information you need about the country, in their own language."

Eriksson argued that the woman should furthermore have the right to an interpreter at public institutions in Sweden, hospitals for example. The man should not be allowed to interpret, she argued.

Sweden's equality minister Nyamko Sabuni welcomed the inquiry.

"It gives us a good summary of the problem. Some are related to the expansion of spouse migration since the 1990s, that I did not know before. It makes the problem even more relevant to look at," she said.

She thinks that the two-year rule has a role to play, but believes that the interpretation is out of date.

"A woman who has a temporary residence permit must feel safe and protected by Swedish law. And I do not think that texts covering motivation really provide for sufficient protection."

Eva Eriksson's report will be now be circulated for consultation and will then return to the Government Offices for consideration.

"It should be circulated for consultation as soon as possible," Sabuni said.

The report was furthermore welcomed by The National Organization for Women's Shelters and Young Women's Shelters in Sweden (Roks).

Roks chairperson Angela Beausang served on the commission of experts for the inquiry and said in a statement that she is pleased that the investigator wants to tighten the control of men who want to "bring women and children to Sweden".

"It is pleasing to conclude that the draft measures Roks developed in its report 'Wife imports continue', have largely been addressed in the inquiry," Angela Beausang said.

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

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Your comments about this article

21:03 June 30, 2012 by Mxzf
Part of the problem, as usual, is that Migrationsverket works very, very slowly. I think that if Migrationsverket can't come to a decision within a few weeks, just let them stay...
22:05 June 30, 2012 by dott
"According to Eriksson the two-year regulation needs to be removed in the longer term."

Poor Swedish men, who will be fooled with fake love...
22:24 June 30, 2012 by Nilspet
Mxzf is right about the slowness.
00:23 July 1, 2012 by Localer
most of the women specially the Thais will do anything just to get the PR/citizenship. sad but true
01:04 July 1, 2012 by Bolinb
It is also true for men that come here to be with their Swedish partner. Migrationsverket Does not listen to our voice and allows, even encourages the abuse that goes on. Not just physical but mental and emotional as well. If there is abuse by a swedish partner it is their story that carries all the power and yours is dismissed. Yopu are even threatened by Migrationsverket with total impunity. Often even with holding PR for another year or two. poor state of affairs for a country that tells the world how liberal they are.
01:58 July 1, 2012 by kinan
well first the immigration department works ridiculously annoyingly slow and this effects the relationship negatively and second also immigrant men are being subjected to a different kind of violence by their partners sometimes , who can help those ? does anyone care even ? they get deported easier and faster than women and surprisingly the immigration office works fast when it comes to deporting an immigrant :S
03:24 July 1, 2012 by philster61
Its tough being a man in Sweden
07:26 July 1, 2012 by Frobobbles
It is interesting that Sweden, with all the feminism och all the propaganda for eqaulity, are the worlds leader in introducing gender specific laws and regulations. From the 'kvinnofrid' to the 'mäns våld mot kvinnor' to the "kvinnoimport", it is all about creating legislations where the sexes are treated differently. And the Swedes don't even notice this, they are in complete denial.
10:48 July 1, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Equality is NOT about treating people the same. Equality IS about ensuring different people have the same chance of outcome. IE the end point is equality not the starting point.
12:39 July 1, 2012 by Children Of Adam
I would like to know if Eva Eriksson is not member of "Sverige Democrat or a feminist party" at first?

Why always men are blamed in Sweden?

Haven't you seen many Thai, Polish and Ukrainian women who are now divorced from her Swede.

Probably they got what they wanted ( a visa).

Should we only blame the men always in Sweden? or those abusers who use these poor men

for their wealth or source of getting her visa or passport?

Anyway,

In SFi classes teachers always teaches the new comers women to report their husband to us in a case they abuse you. So law protects them and many husband are now in jail for abuse and none of these abusers who used their men and sent them in jail.

I have also seen many imported wife/husband who are happily married for over 10 years ands till counting on....
02:11 July 4, 2012 by Cheks
I am happy this is finally being addressed. The only problem with this report is that its focused only on the women brought to Sweden by the Swedish men. What about the men being imported here by the Swedish women that pass through the same ordeal like the women? Subjected to various forms of abuse and constantly threatened with deportation should they choose to end the relationship? Most of the Swedish women would sometimes hide under the guise of love to exploit these men sexually only to end the relationship when they know is getting closer for them to get the P.R. These issues should be fully discussed as well.
18:05 July 9, 2012 by KFF
Re: Cheks

Swedish women are always under all circumstances considered innocent victims in the officially endorsed ideology around things like these. You will therefore never see any reports on that from swedish state research.

By the way. Something not mentioned in the article is that the definition of a swede used in the article is anyone with a permanent residence permit. The vast majority of cases brought upp in "Kvinnor och barn i rättens gränsland" is actually cases involving this wider definition of a swede. The largest contribution of cases are Iraq, Iran and Africa, countries that very few ethnically swedish get their partner from. It's usually someone that get married to an ex asylum seeker and later on is abused alternatively want to have an excuse for a divorce.
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