A reflection on the past 12 months

A reflection on the past 12 months

27 Aug, 2018

I moved to Sweden in the Fall of 2015 with a Work Permit. Back then, things were pretty straight forward it took me just over a month to get the application approved.

Super quick.

No drama.

But then I applied for the work permit extension almost two years later and that’s when things got difficult. Really difficult.

In early September 2017 I got a rejection for my work permit extension because my employer’s former insurance broker forgot to take out life insurance for me in the first 5 months. I was also missing one month of sickness insurance for when my company changed sickness insurance providers.

Apparently I was being ”protected” by being deported.

In Migrationsverket’s eyes I was being taken advantage of by my employer (by having those months of missing insurances), so they wanted to protect me by deporting me.

The thing is, I didn’t want to leave.

I had built a life in Sweden - I’d spent a lot of time and effort learning Swedish, working hard, starting up a testing meet-up, mentoring public speakers through Toastmasters and last but not least I’ve been in a relationship with a Swedish guy for 2 years (and lived with him for most of that period too).

My company was supportive - they found and paid for a lawyer to help me through this and sort this mess out.

The lawyer didn’t want to get my hopes up. He said, based on the current interpretation of the law, I didn’t have a strong case. He made an appeal and mentioned my ties to Sweden in the appeal, namely - my relationship with my sambo.

Fast forward to December 2017 and I had hope. A law was passed that said if the employer fixed their own mistakes before MV noticed it - then it should be ok. A few weeks later, a supreme court judgement was made, which encouraged ”overall assessment”; to look at the bigger picture.

So yes I was hopeful, but still very stressed. I didn’t know how to interpret the December 1 law about fixing your own mistakes, because you can’t retrospectively pay back insurances. Meanwhile, I found ”overall assessment” to be fairly subjective, I didn’t know for sure if I would be ok or not.

In early January 2018 the Migrationcourt made a decision to return my case to Migrationsverket so they could see if I would be eligible for a family ties visa based on my relationship with my sambo. About four months later, my case was assigned to a permit unit, another month later it got a case officer - but then I found out that I can’t apply for a sambo visa from within Sweden (it’s against the ”main rule”). So my case went back to the work permit unit.

Summer 2018 came and I couldn’t leave Sweden. However, I was fortunate enough to have my mum visit me and I could spend some quality time with her.

It’s now the end of August 2018 and I finally got a positive decision from Migrationsverket for a work permit extension based on the overall assessment; or ”helhetsbedömning”.

My sambo and I thought we knew how much stress we’ve been under the past 12 months, but we didn’t realize exactly how much - until it was lifted. When I got the good news I burst out crying (I was going to cry regardless, either from sadness from a negative decision or intense happiness from a positive decision). I still remember saying to my sambo: ”we made it.. we made it .. we made it…” as we hugged.

I’d been sleeping poorly the past 12 months, feeling constantly on edge; constantly worrying that our appeal would be rejected and that my sambo and I would have to start a new life together in another country.

Part of me still can’t get my head around the fact that i was punished for someone else’s mistake. I still can’t get my head around the fact that a law that was meant to protect me - ended up causing me (and my sambo and our families) a year of stress.

In creating this site, we wanted to help people settle into Sweden; we wanted to share information on how to learn Swedish, find apartments etc.

We also want to try and shed some light on what we learned from dealing with Migrationsverket (Swedish immigration). We have learned a lot (post is coming), and we look forward to sharing that information with you, so when you come to Sweden, your experience is hopefully a little bit smoother than mine was the past 12 months.

Also planning to write a bit about the different sections of the positive decision and rejection/deportation letters I got - it made for some intense reading!

Migration Agency
Life in Sweden
Written by Nicola Owen