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Refugees in a language class in Stockholm. Many of the new comers have qualifications that are useful to the country’s economy, say the captains of industry / Photo: Screenshot

Swedish companies launch appeal against deportation of migrants

Dozens of Sweden’s largest and most influential companies have released a statement, appealing to the government to stop the deportation of qualified migrant workers. Among the signatories are H&M’s chairman and the CEO of Ericsson.

Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri has published an open letter that argues that the expulsion of foreign workers “hits business” and that “Swedish companies have to hire workers at a global level.” It was signed by more than 30 industry heads including Stefan Persson, the chairman of H&M and Sweden’s wealthiest person, and Borje Ekholm, the CEO of Ericsson.

“If Ericsson wants to maintain its research activity in Sweden, then economic migration must work in a transparent way,” Ekholm writes.

Tight rules for work permits

The Swedish migration agency has been criticized on several occasions for a hardline policy of refusing work permits for foreign workers.

A prominent case of this is the situation of Hussein Ismail, a Lebanese engineer who arrived in Sweden in 2014 and co-founded Birka BioStorage, a company that specializes in storing biological and pharmaceutical samples. Ismail currently risks expulsion from Sweden along with his wife and children because he allocated part of his salary to the company for three months in 2015. According to online daily thelocal.se, in so doing, the engineer violated the country’s law on immigration, because it lowered his salary to below the minimum amount allowed by union agreements.

Council of Europe calls for “more protection for asylum seekers”

Recently, the Council of Europe called on Sweden to improve its protection measures for refugees and asylum seekers. “Sweden’s renewed commitment to participate in the relocation of asylum seekers and to increase resettlement are positive signals, but it’s time to lift the restrictions imposed on asylum seekers at the height of the 2015 migration crisis,” said the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. “Sweden should move beyond emergency mode and return to the levels of protection in place before the surge of arrivals,” the organisation said.


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