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IMMIGRATION

Teen flees ahead of scheduled deportation to Croatia

A 17-year-old girl from Karlshamn in southern Sweden set to be expelled from the country following a controversial decision has disappeared ahead of her scheduled deportation.

“I don’t know where she is. She’s in a very difficult situation,” said the girl’s lawyer, Nils Fagrenius, to the TT news agency.

Known in the Swedish media simply as “Lollo”, the girl’s case has yet to reach the highest levels of the court, the Migration Court of Appeal (Migrationsöverdomstolen).

The police had planned to deport the girl on Thursday. But Lollo responded by fleeing from her secret address, where she had been placed following a decision by the Karlshamn social welfare board.

Lollo was born in Sweden and has lived most of her life in the country. A few years ago it emerged that she and her sister had been abused by their father, who had been convicted of abuse.

It was then that the municipality decided to put both girls in protective custody and house them at a secret address.

Despite the girl’s situation, the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) decided that Lollo’s entire family should be deported to Croatia, her father’s country of origin.

The decision has been criticized by many, who claim that measures to protect minors from potential harm ought to be tougher.

“But the girl isn’t anywhere near being able to stay,” said Migration Board head Dan Eliasson during a debate broadcast on Sveriges Television on Tuesday night.

He point to laws his agency is required to follow, and how painful specific cases can appear to be.

But Lollo’s lawyer has another point of view, explaining that the girl was actually awarded permanent residency in the migration court in 2007.

“Then the Migration Board appealed and won,” he said.

Currently, the Migration Court in Malmö agrees with the Migration Board position, but the Migration Court of Appeal has yet to rule on the case. Nor has it ruled on Fagrenius’s request to stop the deportation until a final verdict has been reached.

For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question. 

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