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Swedish MP takes sales engineer’s work permit rejection to parliament

The case of Iranian sales engineer Ali Omumi is to be taken to the Swedish Parliament, two days after The Local reported that he faces deportation for a former employer's error.

Swedish MP takes sales engineer's work permit rejection to parliament
Mats Persson plans to submit a formal parliamentary question on Thursday. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Mats Persson, an MP for the Liberal Party, plans to submit a formal parliamentary question to immigration minister Heléne Fritzon this Thursday, asking why Omumi and others like him continue to be expelled from Sweden as a result of minor administrative mistakes. 
 
“It really makes me upset that we are throwing people out who are working and contributing to our country,” Persson told The Local. “When it's obvious that people wanted to act correctly, they shouldn't be punished.”
 
The 38-year-old Omumi, who works for the engineering giant ABB, was on April 27th ordered to leave Sweden within four weeks because a previous employer had made an error over his health insurance. 
 
 
Persson said Omumi's case, which he learned about from Tuesday's report in The Local, demonstrated starkly how wrong the Swedish government had been to stop work on a long-awaited new work permit law this March.  
 
Fritzon justified the decision by saying that the judgement handed down by the Migration Court of Appeal in the so-called 'pizza baker case' in December meant that the new law was no longer necessary. 
 
“If we have a positive development as a result of the new precedent, we shouldn't have a new law which limits it,” she told Dagens Nyheter. The proposal, which suggested deported workers should be able to seek compensation from their employer, had been criticized by Swedish business organizations.
 
Fritzon's office referred back to the article in Dagens Nyheter when approached by The Local for a comment on Wednesday.
 
 
According to Persson, Omumi's case shows the complacency of the government.
 
“It's obvious that they are wrong, because if they were right, these kinds of decisions wouldn't happen,” he said. “It's obvious that the legislation needs to be changed, and I find it really difficult to understand why they didn't do it.” 
 
After Persson's question is submitted, Fritzon will then have two weeks to publish a written answer explaining why a new work permit law is not necessary, despite the fact that highly skilled foreign workers continue to be expelled for errors committed by their employers
 
In its judgement in December, the Court required migration officials to take an “overall assessment” in work permit cases, and not to refuse work permits because of minor bureaucratic errors. 
 
 

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WORKING IN SWEDEN

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. 

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