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'Give Afghan staff jobs to skip asylum process'

22 Mar 2013, 14:16

Published: 22 Mar 2013 14:16 GMT+01:00

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"A solution for the armed forces if they want to take responsibility for their translators is to give them work in Sweden," parliamentarian Gunnar Axén, who sits on the social insurance committee, said on Friday.

"Then they'll get residency permit as labour migrants."

After four years in the country, the residency permit would become permanent.

Axén underlined that there are several job titles within the armed forces that do not require security clearances of the would-be employees.

The commander-in-chief, Sverker Göranson, had previously asked that the Swedish government find a solution to welcome the Afghan interpreters in Sweden.

Many of the local staff fear they will face a backlash when the Swedish troops leave and several have testified in Swedish media to already being threatened for working for foreign forces.

"People who don't see the world as we do see the interpreters as traitors," Göranson said this week, according to the TT news agency.

The interpreters cannot seek asylum without travelling to Sweden - a process that would most likely involve people-smugglers and vast amounts of money changing hands.

Göranson had asked if the translators could instead be included in the refugee quota that Sweden actively takes in from crisis zones every year.

The interpreters' Catch-22 situation was highlighted already last year when 24 of them wrote to the Swedish embassy in Kabul to ask for advice.

At the time, Migration Minister Tobias Billström responded that "Sweden does not grant asylum as a reward for hard work".

MP Axén agreed with the commander-in-chief's analysis that the translators might be in jeopardy but said there is no guarantee that the Migration Board would share that assessment in each individual case.

A spokesman for the armed forces, Erik Lagersten, said however that there were potential hiccups with taking shortcuts such as turning the translators into labour migrants.

Story continues below…

"Asylum is granted to individuals under threat, and we think that Sweden has a societal duty to look into that," he told TT.

"If you want to equate the asylum system with the labour migration process, that has to be a discussion between the politicians."

TT/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

14:57 March 22, 2013 by Localer
give them work ??? youth unemployment is nearly 10% and they dare to talk about employ refugees instead their own people ????
15:06 March 22, 2013 by HungarianAmerican1975
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:09 March 22, 2013 by dott
They got paid for their risk, don't understand why Sweden should let them in.
19:07 March 22, 2013 by muscle
train them as professional interpreters. They have been living in war areas...and no one is best suited for interpreters in war zones, then these people! Sweden should also understand, if they leave them behind, more enemies against sweden will be generated!

Lol. The war on terror has been faught for over 10 years now....the only thing that has been achieved are more enemies.... and more areas to invade!
21:00 March 22, 2013 by intrepidfox
It reminds me about what the UK did with the Ghurkas. Use them and dump them. They should get help as they deserve it not like the rest of the rubbish we get
04:28 March 23, 2013 by jimfromcanada
They could be hired as interpreters in other countries like Pakistan by the embassies.
10:51 March 23, 2013 by Reason and Realism
The Swedish armed forces are shriking in size, because the threat of an invasion from Russia has been replaced by the threat of terrorism.

And it is not that hard to believe that the interpreters face threats from other Afghans because of their cooperation with Western military forces..

Accordingly if these Afghan interpreters can assist in the war on terror with their language skills, and disrupt future terrorist actions against targets both inside and outside of Sweden, then it makes sense to allocated part of the defense to employ them as spies (basically eavesdropping and translation of intercepted messages, not James Bond missions).
15:51 March 23, 2013 by Navras
There are 50000 Afgani living in Sweden. 20% of them are unemployed; why not to hire them as translators.
18:45 August 9, 2013 by alikhil
do you think they will stay fro months in CHEMTAAL district so funny
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