Foreign workers to form human chain to stop deportations

Foreign workers to form human chain to stop deportations
The Migration Agency's offices in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT
An organization campaigning for the rights of work permit holders in Sweden is to form a human chain this weekend to protest against bureaucratic rules for foreign workers.

The Work Permit Holders' Association (WPHA) calls on people to join a protest to “draw the attention of the politicians, Migration Agency, policy makers and common people about this issue”, a spokesperson told The Local in an e-mail.

“To live a life of a work permit holder in Sweden is nothing but driving a brake-less car in a dark tunnel. People's stress level is high, future is uncertain, rules are not clear, explanation of law is changing frequently which creates more uncertainty. Due to the high uncertain life and long waiting time, integration is being hampered,” he added.

Sweden's migration rules have been criticized in the past year for not being flexible enough, including by key industry players such as Spotify, following a number of high-profile cases where tech talents were threatened with deportation due to technicalities.

One example is Tayyab Shabab, a developer from Pakistan who had his application for a work permit extension rejected despite having a steady job in Sweden because a previous employer forgot to take out occupational pension insurance for him.

The Local also wrote about Bangladeshi worker Syed Latif who was deported because he received his job via LinkedIn rather than Sweden's job centre Arbetsförmedlingen. 

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“It is evident that the law has technical flaws which does not cover the reality of all professions all through the time. We want to address those issues to the proper authority so that they eventually change the law,” said the WPHA spokesperson.

The WPHA also proposes clarifying how long an applicant will have to wait for an answer. Some foreign workers have told The Local that they received an answer to their application within weeks, while others have described having to wait well over a year. Overall waiting times have risen in the past few years.

The Swedish government has said that it is considering re-examining the rules and will put forward a new legislative proposal to amend current work permit regulations this spring.

“We believe by proper addressing and communication, the problem can be resolved as Sweden is a country where they respect the people and their rights,” said the WPHA.

The demonstration will take place at Sergels Torg in Stockholm from noon to 3pm on Sunday and other cities in Sweden where there are work permit holders who want to join.

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