In June The Local wrote about Luleå-based Hana Zrida, whose husband Chakib Ammar risked being deported after the Migration Agency rejected his application for permanent residency as her spouse – because her temporary job in Gothenburg meant they were not seen as living together.
However, his application has now been granted after appealing the case to the Migration Court.
“We feel happy again, we were living under stress for a long time. Now the nightmare is over and we can live normally again. Now we can focus more on our jobs and be more effective,” Zrida and Ammar told The Local in an e-mail.
Many of The Local's readers expressed their support for the Tunisian-born couple last month after Zrida spoke of her shock and concern for her baby when Ammar was told he had four weeks to leave the country.
As we reported at the time, the problem could be traced back to November last year, when Zrida landed a two-year job as a researcher and teacher at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. She then started staying part-time in Luleå with Ammar, who had a job there, and part-time in Gothenburg, which the Migration Agency argued indicated that they did not plan on living together in the future.
However, after Ammar appealed and submitted all the evidence they could think of – maternity certificate, airline tickets, proof of identity and certificates from employer and landlord – the agency changed its mind.
In its decision, the Migration Court writes that the Migration Agency has accepted their appeal and concedes that the couple “is living together and have taken measures to live together in the future”.
Sweden's migration laws have come under fire in the past year, after a number of high-profile cases where applicants were rejected due to seemingly minor administrative mistakes or confusing rules.
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Zrida said she would encourage people in a similar situation to her and Ammar to "be honest", submit as much proof as possible and learn the reason behind the rejection in order to know how best to appeal it.
"I hope that everyone gets the right decision. There are some confusing situations where the application of the law is not clear, and then the discussion starts. I advise people in this case to be patient and try to understand the reason behind the rejection."
The couple are now able to stay in the country to pursue their careers and raise a family. Having fallen in love with Sweden after Zrida was first granted a scholarship in Luleå in 2009, it is a dream come true.
“Honestly, when I received my own decision (about permanent residency) I wasn't as happy as I am now with my husband's decision, because the latter one means the final decision for all the family,” said Zrida.
“As soon as we heard the news, we shared it with our friends and our big families who were very glad for us. Hopefully everything goes fine with the pregnancy, then we can have a big celebration.”