Sweden deported family to wrong country

A family deported to Uzbekistan after Sweden rejected their application for asylum is set to return to Sweden after Uzbek authorities concluded that they were not from the central Asian country.

The family were flown to Uzbekistan in a specially chartered plane on Friday, but are set to arrive back in Halland in western Sweden already on Monday.

“They are not Uzbeks, according to the Uzbek authorities,” said Marianne Paulsson at Halland police to the TT news agency.

The family will now undergo a new investigation into their application for asylum.

The case gained attention after Falkenberg municipal executive board urged the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to reconsider its decision to deport the family.

But despite the appeal, the deportation was carried out on Friday in a plane carrying a number of other families.

“The Uzbek authorities have conducted a very thorough investigation and concluded that the family are definitely not from Uzbekistan and are not Uzbeks,” Marianne Paulsson said.

Paulsson explained that the identification documents held by the family were fakes and former places of residence given by them have been shown to be fabrications.

The Migration Court has previously ruled that the family is from Uzbekistan although the Migration Board has said that it believes the family could originate from Uzbekistan, Azerbajdzjan, Turkey, Georgia or elsewhere, Paulsson told TT.

The family will be returned to the Migration Board’s reception unit on their return to Sweden.

Deported people return to Sweden from time to time.

The Local reported in December 2010 on the case of a 52-year-old Iranian man after he was sent to neighbouring Iraq by mistake.

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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.