Star developer to leave Sweden for Berlin after growing tired of deportation fight

A star developer who had a work permit application rejected because of an error made by a previous employer has decided to leave Sweden after losing hope in his fight to stay in the country.

Star developer to leave Sweden for Berlin after growing tired of deportation fight
Tayyab Shabab (left) has his work permit application rejected by Migrationsverket over an admin slip. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT & Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

Pakistani developer Tayyab Shabab had his permit application rejected by the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) last year because a previous employer forgot to take out occupational pension insurance for him. The fight to prevent his deportation was backed by big names in the tech world like Spotify founder Daniel Ek, provoked an online petition signed by more than 10,000 people and sparked debate about how fair Sweden's rules in the area are.

READ ALSO: Star developer told to leave Sweden over admin slip

READ ALSO: Startup heavyweights back tech ace told to leave Sweden

After losing his case in the Stockholm Migration Court in May, Shabab appealed to the Migration Court of Appeal (Migrationsöverdomstolen), but he has now decided to take his talents elsewhere after growing weary.

“I have decided to move to Germany from Sweden. I took this decision because I still see no hope of getting this problem fixed for me,” Shabab told The Local.

He will however see his appeal through:

“I just had a meeting with my lawyer Fredrik and he suggested that I should keep my case here open and not take it back right away. So I won't be withdrawing my case here for now”.

Shabab, who is described as a “world class talent” in his field, had a steady job as a developer in Sweden and has lived in the country since 2013, when he moved to study a Masters in computer sciences before going on to work in the tech industry.

His previous employer made an admin error while trying to take out occupational pension insurance for him, but despite the company offering to correct the mistake by paying the necessary insurance in retrospect, Migrationsverket said he could not be granted a new visa.

The developer said he still has a positive opinion of Sweden, but thinks its rules in the area need to change.

“It didn't change my opinion about Sweden. I still think the people are very nice here. However it is the rules which need to be changed. I think the government does not look interested in fixing the issues.”

In May the Swedish government announced that it wants to change the country's migration laws so that small mistakes can be fixed if they are noticed by an employer before Migrationsverket. It will also investigate a further law change that would make rules more flexible in cases where an employer was not able to fix the mistake before Migrationsverket notified them about it.

READ ALSO: Sweden to fix rules that lead to deportations over admin slips

But Shabab said he is not optimistic about anything significant happening:

“Until now I have seen nothing change. It looks like this issue is not a priority for the government or maybe they are just delaying it on purpose”.

Instead, he is now looking forward to a new life in Germany, where the signs so far are that things will be easier.

“I am moving to Berlin and a software company that works with artificial intelligence solutions. It's a very good company and Berlin is also a nice city. It was very easy to get a permit for Germany. I got the decision within just one week and the process was very smooth,” he concluded.

For members


EXPLAINED: What do we know so far about Sweden’s new ‘talent visa’?

In the new work permit law which comes into force on June 1st, Sweden is launching a new nine-month 'talent visa', which will allow “some highly qualified individuals” to get temporary residency while they look for jobs or plan to launch a business. What do we know so far?

EXPLAINED: What do we know so far about Sweden's new 'talent visa'?

When was the law passed and when does it come into force? 

The parliament passed the new law on April 21st, and the final text of the change in the law was published on May 5th. It will come into force on June 1st. 

What does the new law say about the ‘talent visa’? 

It says that “in certain cases”, a temporary residency permit can be granted to a foreigner who wants to “spend time in the country to look for work or to look into the possibility of starting a business”. 

To qualify the applicant must: 

  • have completed studies equivalent to an advanced level degree 
  • have sufficient means to support themselves during their stay and to cover the cost of their return trip 
  • have fully comprehensive health insurance which is valid in Sweden 

How long can people initially stay in Sweden under the talent visa? 

The residency permit will be valid for a maximum of nine months.

Which agency will assess applications for the talent visa? 

The government has decided that applications should be assessed by the Migration Agency. The Migration Agency will publish more details on the requirements, such as what qualifies as an advanced degree, what documents need to be submitted, and how much capital applicants will need to show they can support themselves, in the coming weeks. 

The Migration Agency is also likely to develop a form for those wishing to apply for the talent visa. 

What level of education is necessary? 

What is meant by an “advanced degree” has not been set ou in the law, but according to Karl Rahm, who has helped draw up the law within the Ministry of Justice, a master’s degree (MA or MSc), should be sufficient. 

How much capital will applicants need to show that they have? 

According to Rahm, the amount of money applicants will need to show that they have is likely to be set at the same level as the minimum salary for those applying for a work permit, which is currently 13,000 kronor a month. If he is right, this means that someone applying for a nine-month visa would have to show that they have 117,000 kronor (€11,259) in saved capital, plus extra for their trip back to their home country.

READ ALSO: How will the new work permit law just passed in Sweden affect foreigners?

Can applicants bring children and spouses? 

“You will not be able to bring your family with this kind of visa, since the idea is that it’s for a relatively limited amount of time,  just to see if there is employment for you, or if there is a chance of starting a business,” says Elin Jansson, deputy director at the Ministry of Justice, who helped work on the new visa. “And if you do decide to stay in Sweden, then you apply for a regular work permit for starting up a business, and then you can bring your family.” 

Where will detailed information on the requirements for a talent visa be published? 

The Migration Agency will publish detailed requirements on the talent visa on its Working in Sweden page when the law starts to apply on June 1st. 

What is the reason for the talent visa? 

Those searching for a job or researching starting a new business in Sweden can already stay for up to 90 days with a normal Schengen visa. The idea behind the talent visa is to give highly educated foreigners a little longer to decide if they want to find a job or set up a business in the country before they need to go the whole way and launch a company. 

How many people are expected to apply? 

In the government inquiry on the new work permit law, experts estimated that about 500 people would apply for the new talent visa each year, but it could end up being either much more, or less. 

“It’s really hard to tell. There could be a really big demand. I don’t think it’s anyone can really say before this comes into effect,” Jansson said.