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Sweden loses battle to deport mechanic who took no holiday

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Sweden loses battle to deport mechanic who took no holiday
Sameer Subhat won his case in the Migration Court. Photo: Centre for Justice
14:24 CEST+02:00
An Iraqi mechanic who faced deportation because he failed to take a holiday can now stay in Sweden, a Migration Court in Malmö has ruled.
"I have no words to describe how happy I feel," Sameer Suhbat, 23, said in a statement after the judgement was handed down on Tuesday. 
 
The court ruled in its judgement that Suhbat, who lives in Täby outside Stockholm, could stay because his working conditions had not undercut those allowed according to his work permit, as Sweden's Migration Agency claimed.
 
He had, the court noted, even been paid for a period when he hadn't had to work because the garage had been shut. 
 
"That Sameer Suhbat did not receive holiday benefits during this period cannot therefore be seen as a disadvantage to him," the court ruled. "It should instead be deemed to have been to his advantage to be given time off while still receiving a salary." 
 
Johannes Forssberg, the lawyer at the Stockholm public interest law firm Centre for Justice who represented Subhat, said the case had been one of the most marked examples of the Migration Agency's narrow and overzealous interpretation of work permit law. 
 
"Common sense has beaten the Migration Agency's strange interpretation of the law," Forssberg said. "This is a sensible and rational judgement." 
 
Forssberg said he hoped Subhat's case would now set a precedent on two important issues: mistakes made by previous employers, and how to judge whether an employee has been granted sufficient holidays. 
 
 
The Migration Agency last May ruled that Subhat should be deported because he had taken insufficient holiday, even though he had not worked for his new employer long enough to quality for any paid time off. 
 
It said that he should have taken an unpaid holiday, even though under Swedish law, an employee cannot be forced to take a holiday without salary. 
 
According to the law firm, since the top-tier court the Migration Court of Appeal ruled against the Migration Agency in the "pizza baker case" in December, the agency has tended to take a more nuanced approach to work permit holders whose employers have made mistakes over salary and insurance. 
 
But, in cases involving holidays, it said that the agency had up until now remained inflexible. 
 
Yesterday, The Local reported on the case of a sales engineer from Iran who lost his fight in the first-tier appeals court, the Migration Court, because of a series of errors made by his employer.
 
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