'Swedish migration does not care that my son has never been to Iran'

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
'Swedish migration does not care that my son has never been to Iran'
IT manager Mehdi Salah with his son Ali on graduation day earlier this year. Photo: private

When Mehdi Saleh finally got his permanent residency decision after a year's wait this July, it came as a shock. He got a positive decision, but his son Ali was ordered to be deported to Iran, a country where he has never been.


"I told them 'he has no place to go'," Saleh told The Local. "He was born in Kuwait, he has never been to Iran, and if he goes to Iran, he will be arrested for forced military service."

Saleh is one of the hundreds of foreigners working in Sweden who are discovering that a new immigration law brought in in July 2021 is leading to a new phenomenon of "teen deportations", where children of work permit holders who turn 18 before the Migration Agency makes a decision on their parents' cases find themselves suddenly required to be able to support themselves. 

READ ALSO: What does Sweden's new migration law mean for residence permit holders? 

The new law, called the Aliens Act, includes a maintenance requirement that applies to everyone over the age of 18, including dependents of work permit holders and recent PhD graduates.

"The changes meant, among other things, that the new requirements were imposed for everyone who applies for a permanent residence permit, which meant new rules for both main applicants as well as their family members," explains Andreas Bråthe, partner at Ernst and Young's People Advisory Services division. 

This, he said, was affecting "family members traveling with their partners, spouses or parents", who "rely on the main applicant taking the financial responsibility due to their employment".

To get permanent residence, they now need to show that they are able to support themselves and earn enough to cover their housing needs, plus a so-called "normal payment", which is set this year at 5,157 kronor a month. 

"There are many cases where the family members are put in a situation where they need to find employment, sometimes with limited resources," he said. " Even if the financial need is not required for their private household, this is a must in order to fullfil the requirement for permanent residency." 

Saleh said he had been "shocked" when he received the answer from the Migration Agency last July. 

"To be honest, the whole family is depressed now. The government doesn't pay even a single penny to this boy. He is under my expense coverage, not the government of Sweden's." 

But living off money or in housing provided by your parents is not considered a valid form of support under the law. 


"There is not an option for the main applicant to go in and “cover” for the income that the dependent needs in order to meet the requirement," Bråthe says. "Instead the assessment is made for each applicant separately, regardless of whether they share household and costs together with their family members." 

The new law does give the agency leeway to make exceptions for those who "for other special reasons cannot support themselves", but does not seem to be applying this in cases like Saleh's son's. 

Many foreign workers who came to Sweden with children between 14 and 17 years old, who were then given residency rights as co-applicants, are finding that their children are given deportation orders once they turn 18 and apply for residency as adults. 

Saleh's son was not working or studying at university at the time of the application because he needed to retake some high school courses.

According to Saleh, his family is far from the only one affected. 


"When I talked to my son's school, the headmaster said to me, 'Mehdi, you are not the only parents who are suffering, unfortunately'. This has become a general issue for young people in Sweden. The new law is really disturbing families." 

Ali, he said, has been put under significant stress by the deportation order and is "very worried". 

Since the deportation order, he has now got a job as an administrator earning a high enough wage to meet the income requirements and has appealed the decision on this basis. 

But Saleh says it now remains to be seen if the Migration Court will rule that this is sufficient or whether it is too late to avoid deportation. 

Are you or a family member facing a similar situation to Mehdi Saleh and his son? Please get in touch, as we want to highlight the issue of teenage deportations and bring it to the attention of politicians and campaigners in Sweden. Email us at [email protected]  


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steveh-77 2022/11/04 11:35
Hi everyone - Great news for our friend Mehdi and his son. Canada, a great and moden nation - has the some of the highest immigration rates in the world. And this week - Canada announced it will increase immigration higher still. So don't despair. But do read the following article and make new plans: And our friend Richard Orange should publish this comment if he cares at all about the immigrant community in Sweden as this is good and valuable information. As Canada is one of the worlds best nations, with an advanced economy, strong social structures, state medical care, and a booming economy including both high-tech and low tech jobs across many sectors including natural resources, energy, construction, finance, telecommunications, IT, software, healthcare, tourism, etc. And it has a culture of welcoming immigrants.

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