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Family outrage over 90-year-old's deportation

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Family outrage over 90-year-old's deportation
90-year-old Ganna Chyzhevska with great-grandson Elvin.
16:17 CEST+02:00
90-year-old Ganna Chyzhevska, suffering from dementia and heart disease, will be sent back to Ukraine, even though the relatives who want to care for her are living in Sweden.

“Sometimes she understands that she will be sent away from us and sometimes she doesn't,” granddaughter Anna Otto told The Local.

When Ganna Chyzevska's husband died of cancer eight years ago, her daughter and granddaughter, who have been living in Sweden since 1995 and are Swedish citizens, applied for residency on her behalf based on family connections.

Since then, Chyzevska has been forced to travel between Ukraine and Sweden several times, only being granted temporary visas and residency permits for short periods of time.

Chyzevska's application for residency was initially denied due to what Otto describes as “not a close enough family connection”.

”We didn't live in the same household as my grandmother before we moved to Sweden. My mother was 50 years old when she moved here. It isn't common for a person to live with their parents at that age,” saíd Otto.

According to Swedish law, a family member needs to be living with their adult children and be financially dependent on them before the residency permit is granted based on family connections.

“Before 1997 we were allowed to grant residency to elderly parents whose adult children were living in Sweden, but then the law was changed,” said Mikael Ribbenvik, legal expert at the Migration Board (Migrationsverket), to The Local.

Since the beginning of the process, Chyzevska's applications for permanent residency have been denied seven times.

“This last time it was her health. The medical certificate does not show that her health is deteriorating and so they denied her application,” Otto said.

Chyzevska's doctor, Claes von Segebaden, wrote in a letter to the Migration Board that the chances of the elderly woman being able to manage on her own in Kiev are slim.

“The patient shows significant signs of dementia,” he wrote.

Von Segebaden has concluded that Chyzevska shows clear signs of an Alzheimer's type of illness, as well as ischemic heart syndrome and strongly diminished eyesight as the result of a cataract operation.

However, Chyzevska's appeal for consideration of her diminished health had no impact, as the decision to deport her was not changed.

According to the Migration Board it is not easy to get to stay in Sweden due to medical reasons.

To be allowed to stay the applicant has to prove that the country does not have capability to offer the care needed.

“We are not allowed to take into consideration whether the patient will be able to afford the treatment in their country or not,” said Ribbenvik.

He said that it is not easy to make these kinds of decisions, as it is almost impossible not to feel for the people you are dealing with, but that the Migration Board is bound under Swedish law, and therefore their hands are tied.

Otto told The Local that a meeting had been scheduled for Monday, September 5th to plan the particulars of Chyzevska's deportation.

When she arrived at the meeting with a list of questions for the officers, she was told that they wouldn't be able to answer any of them.

“I was told that I just had a choice; to set a definite date for my grandmother's deportation or let the matter be handed over to the police,” Otto said.

Otto has so far staged a demonstration to persuade authorities to let her grandmother stay in the country and has collected 426 signatures on her behalf.

“If she goes back to the Ukraine she has nowhere to live and she won't know her way around. Often she doesn't even remember who I am,” said Otto to The Local.

Chyzevska's deportation date has been set for October 3rd.

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