Syed Latif, 35, had been living in Sweden for six years and had a steady job when he was told earlier in 2016 that he would not be granted a work permit by a Malmö migration court.
The court referred to rules stating that EU residents must be given priority when advertising jobs, meaning positions must be available and visible to everyone in the EU when they are promoted.
It decided that was not the case with Latif’s then job because it had been advertised on LinkedIn, rather than through the Swedish job centre Arbetsförmedlingen, which would also have made it available through European job portal Eures.
“When I got the rejection letter I said ‘what?’ It was unbelievable,” Latif told The Local last April before he was deported back to his home country of Bangladesh.
According to Latif's lawyer, the European Commission has since said that job seekers are entitled to use different channels to find employment however, and Sweden did not need to interpret their rules the way they did.
Now, Latif is finally on his way back to Sweden after being offered a new job as an accountant at a firm in Hörby, Skåne, which he applied for via Arbetsförmedlingen. Last weekend he was informed that the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) had decided to grant him the necessary residence and work permits.
“I’m of course very happy to be allowed to return to Sweden, I really want to come back. But I also feel sad about having to leave my parents,” Latif told news agency TT over the phone from Bangladesh.
He first moved to Sweden in 2010 to study at university before getting a job at an exchange bureau in Malmö. Fluent in Swedish, before being deported he ran a language cafe to help refugees learn the local language.
Latif’s case highlighted apparent contradictions in Sweden’s push to try to attract global talent to the country while at the same time creating obstacles for them with strict rules and regulations.
The issue was recently brought to the fore again when Pakistani app developer Tayyab Shabab, who is described as a ‘world class’ talent in his field, was told that his own application for a work permit had been rejected because a previous employer in Sweden made an administrative error.
An online petition arguing that he should be allowed to stay in Sweden is now less than 900 signatures short of its 10,000 signature goal.