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Foreign students grapple with new fingerprint rule

The Local/dl · 22 Jun 2011, 07:24

Published: 22 Jun 2011 07:24 GMT+02:00

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"The biggest problem is that our students quite simply can't get into Sweden," said Malmö University administrator Kjell Gunnarsson to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Gunnarsson estimates that between 40 and 50 non-European students who have already paid fees to secure their places at Malmö University may miss the start of the fall term because they haven't received visas.

The problem stems from a new EU-directive which requires non-Europeans to be photographed and submit fingerprints in order to receive a special residence permit.

Currently, not all Swedish embassies are equipped with the proper machinery to collect and process the information, forcing many would-be students to undertake long and expensive trips.

"They may have to travel from Trinidad to Washington, DC two times in order to submit and pick up their visa," Gunnarsson told SR.

"Students who are in Fiji are directed to Australia. It's not a dignified way to treat students."

He added that other European countries, such as Italy, chose to implement the rules in a way that allowed students to leave biometric information upon arrival in the country.

Migration minister Tobias Billström told SR he had not previously been aware of the issue, but promised to investigate it further.

Story continues below…

He added that the problem affected not only students, but anyone seeking a residence permit who is also required to submit biometric information.

"When you implement a chance it's impossible to avoid a transition period," he said.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:28 June 22, 2011 by StuartM
Yet another stupid, pointless EU rule being imposed upon Sweden. Fortunately as a UK citizen I won't require a residence permit for my studies later this year but it's clearly unfair to penalise non-European students in this way and treat them as second class citizens. While the EU is positive for Europeans wanting to live, work or study in other EU countries it simultaneously promotes the implementation of racist and restrictive immigration policies against people from other parts of the world.
08:57 June 22, 2011 by Rick Methven
When you implement a chance it's impossible to avoid a transition period, ??

Translation error I think
09:13 June 22, 2011 by BrittInSweden

The rules imposed by the EU are a measure similar to that of the USA when entering the country even on tourist visits. You are required to pre-approve for visa waiver and give finger prints at border control.

This process isn't to treat anyone as 2nd class citizens, it is to know who is within the borders of the EU.

If it helps them track down a would be terrorist in the future then it is a scheme we will all be thankful for. Other than that, it is a mild inconvenience except for those wanting to come to Sweden due to lack of machinery in the foreign embassy's.
09:50 June 22, 2011 by riose
@StuartM You will have the same problems if you try to go to their countries.

That is not racism, that is called bureaucracy.
10:10 June 22, 2011 by krow
If the ¨Non-EU students cannot come, then give them their paid school fees back. Or is their going to be profit on the money paid if withheld?
10:33 June 22, 2011 by canuk
THIS IS A FANTASTIC THING! Finally a way to identify and track these people coming in.
10:50 June 22, 2011 by Nemesis
@ BrittInSweden,

Well said. This is something that should have been rolled out years ago.

It is gradually becoming worldwide measure now. It applies in US, Europe, Japan and a few other places.
11:05 June 22, 2011 by Twiceshy
Dictatorship and racism. IT IS making people 2nd class when there are different rules for domestic and foreign people, who said that "terrorist" can be only from Africa or from Fiji but not from Sweden inside of Sweden? Democracy and terrorism are 2 most misused words by the side of governments, oh yes, they misuse pedophiles to justify control and restrictions, one day they will say: gov must put camera in your shower because in that way gov can prevent that pedophiles touch children in that place. And of course, there will be always those who works for gov who will always justify anything what gov want. Gov should be controlled and not loved by the people, because politicians misuse power how much they can. In this case, they misuse power to realize racism with aim to win elections with giving privileges to domestic workers/students.
11:09 June 22, 2011 by eppie
'''''This process isn't to treat anyone as 2nd class citizens, it is to know who is within the borders of the EU.''' Yes because it is impossible to enter the EU unseen.

These kind of rules just annoy all good willing people and have no effect whatsoever on safety. The only thing they are good for are the companies that make these fingerprint scanners.

The US uses the same trick for years already to support the companies most politicians have shares in. Total body scanners, shoe scanners etc.

Even a thing like the metal detectors you walk through in airports are used incorrectly by staff that doesn't understand how they work. If they were really interested in safety they would think of something else.
11:13 June 22, 2011 by johnny1939
Yes, this is what we have to do because of a few people trying to raise havoc on the rest of us. Blame them!
11:18 June 22, 2011 by Iri
Another mess,,,,,,,,,,,
12:17 June 22, 2011 by Swedesmith
@johnny I agree. While these security proceedures may be annoying and perhaps even pointless, the blame falls on the terrorists and ne'er do wells who have caused all this to happen.
13:28 June 22, 2011 by graphixperson
I sent stuff that I had made at the sheriff's office. I'm not driving all the way to Washington. I'm sure as hell not buying a plane ticket. Hope it's good enough. Of course, the application fee is still in my account, so it doesn't seem like they've lifted a finger yet. If they don't want me spending money in Sweden, so be it.
13:32 June 22, 2011 by edpe71
I do feel sorry for the students because they are being penalised for something that is not their fault, ie, poor bureaucracy! The screening issue has now become such a matter of fact of life that no one seriously questions its effectiveness. I am more concerned about sharing so much personal information with the authorities and other companies without the certainty of its use and security!
13:43 June 22, 2011 by N0DE
Funny, very funny, now students are considered as potential terrorists :D LOL: ROFL ........ someone rightly said , Democracy and Terrorism are the two most widely abused terms in media
15:10 June 22, 2011 by imonx
Sweden is a segregated society, more so, I ponder why many African students want to go there and study. Simply put if the situation back home improves I doubt if Black People will even consider studying here in Sweden.

There are no Jobs in Sweden for foreign students, and it is the most expensive country in the world why study there? The educational standards are low.

16:38 June 22, 2011 by update-2011

'the educational standards are low'

compared to..?African countries' educational standards?
17:03 June 22, 2011 by Iraniboy
The problem is not fingerprinting! The problem is long long process of evaluating a student visa 4-5 months!!! It is now faster to apply for as an asylum seeker and get a response within half a year than get a student visa in Sweden! The thing is there is not big requirements or troublesome documentation that is needed for applying for visa. It is JUST the time that bothers!
23:37 June 22, 2011 by muscle
this is happening when already the universities are suffering due to lack of competent student applications!
00:10 June 23, 2011 by Just_Kidding
To muscle: our small university has already shut down two master degrees due to the lack of applicants. Swedish student's usually apply for a PhD program that comes with a salary. These master's programs were mainly attended by students from India, Pakistian and China; They received some good training in some subjects that could have been useful for them if they chose to go back home or continue in PhD program (maybe in USA, UK, or Canada). Obviously it was very hard for these students to find a job in Sweden. Maybe Sweden didn't lose too much by asking for fees, but it became a bit harder for these students to be trained in Europe (which is not a big deal, since there are already many fine universities in India, China and Pakistan...for undergraduate studies ... obviously they lag a bit behind in terms of technology...).
13:15 June 23, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
With a little political will this is easily solved. Supply the equipment via diplomatic bag to all embassies (and if you don't have an embassy/consulate in the place appoint another EU countries' embassy/consulate to do it or even hire it out to a respected local establishment). Hire a few Swedes to speed up the processing on the home front and Voila....solved.

@N0DE - terrorist organizations regularly use "Student" as a cover for operatives. Any country/area has the right/responsibility to carefully vette incoming people. The problem here is, as Iraniboy has put well, is that the process is unduly a burden on students due to the time (and for many the cost of going to get the papers) it takes to complete.
15:24 June 23, 2011 by Uncle

"Dictatorship and racism" - Oh, yeah... Real dictatorship.. Sweden is a massive dictatorship because it wants to take fingerprints of non EU members. In order NOT to be an awful dictatorship, it should cancel that and cancel any passport check at the border.

And of course, you do not abuse the word "racism"... Because "non-EU" race is a world famous single race that is so hated by the racist Swedes.

" who said that "terrorist" can be only from Africa or from Fiji but not from Sweden inside of Sweden?" - I would support you and say even further:

Terrorist can be ONLY a Swede! Hundreds of swedes commit suicide bombing all over the world. Swedish minorities in the world are getting into armed conflicts with the locals on a constant basis and swedish countries in the world are famous dictatorships that hang opposition and support government level terror. Swedish refugees are filling prisons in the host countries and increase rape figures by 75%.

Swedish terrorist cells are using the cover of student visas and wait until their priests will issue the war cries and call to kill random people in the streets, until the entire country would convert into swedish mentality of Fika at 14:00 and Kalle Anka on Christmas.

To claim otherwise would be direct admission of racism and cannibalism! I would also say that claiming that most of the terrorists in the world are NOT Swedes, is admitting support of nazism and child pornography, as well as promoting genocide of innocent baby girls and taking on the blame for environmental problems of the world. Can I also use the word "Apartheid" (because it sounds nice)? Apartheid.
15:43 June 23, 2011 by wenddiver
@NODE- The 911 Terrorists were Student Visas.

The Terrorists who tried to blow up the UN, were Student Visas and Sudanese diplomatic credentials.

The Terrorists who tried to blow up the Mulholland Tunnel were Student Visas.

I would be careful of cave people who can't provide ID.
16:14 June 23, 2011 by karex
@riose, yes, NOW you will have the same treatment if trying to come into their countries, it's called "reciprocity". Every inconvenient measure one country places on citizens of another country is automatically reciprocated.

@BrittnSweden. Requirirng fingerprints is no big deal, it is WHEN and HOW which creates havoc: if you arrive and at a border control and give your prints it's no big deal. If you have to give biometrics in order to submit your passport for visa approval, that's another thing.

Implementing biometrics is a good thing, it just needs to be organized in a sensible way. Personally, an even better idea is to require biometrics from everyone. But then many people would scream personal rights infringement. But if it's to aid authorities to do their job in the protection of all, why would a potential victim protest? I guess only potential criminals would have a reason to.
17:30 June 23, 2011 by hilt_m
Hi folks! I know this sounds a little one sided and against people from non-eu countries but just to let you know, as a swedish citizen when you get a passport now, you also have to submit your finger prints. This is something new, so don't feel to bad, more of you are in the same boat then you think ;)
18:38 June 23, 2011 by Iraniboy

Please check your facts! Terrorists of 9/11 were Bin Laden and his group who were supported by the US to move Russia out of Afghanistan. Bin Laden and his family were not student in fact they were one of those rich families having close relations with US administration.


Sweden has the least dictatorship nad racism in the world. The country I was born and the country you are from have one of the highest.
22:53 June 23, 2011 by Uncle


FIRST time in my life I hear some sort of a hint to a shadow of criticism towards the wonderful Mother Persia from you. I am so awed and overwhelmed that I am not even going to engage into an argument about the country that I am coming from .

I am not even going to wonder whether you understood my sarcasm in the previous post.

I am just going to enjoy the rare moment of a real criticism (although constrained by comparison to other "awful" countries) towards Iran from Iraniboy. Wonderful moment.
20:30 June 24, 2011 by svensk-amerikanska
The double standard of trying to play in the big leagues of liberalism and not being able to pay for it with an inferior bureaucracy it telling indeed.
01:12 June 26, 2011 by Observant
Migration minister Tobias Billström told SR he had not previously been aware of the issue, but promised to investigate it further.

This is so very TYPICAL of how Sweden is running. If the MINISTER does not know what is happening how the hell can a Government Organisation/Department ever run properly.

This MINISTER should be SACKED FORTHWITH and replaced with a person who has HANDS-ON knowledge and experience.

Give me the job and I will root the bastards out.
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