During the summer, a scandal has rolled up involving a Swedish authority, a law firm, and a company that lure Chinese people to Sweden with false work permits. Up to 200 people may have been duped to buy expensive and invalid work permits, and now risk being deported with their families, writes daily Svenska Dagbladet.
In 2008, the Swedish law on labour migration was slightly liberalised. One idea was that key personnel in company groups should be able to migrate more freely between countries.
But a Chinese citizen, together with a Swedish law firm, have attempted to exploit this by selling shell companies to Chinese people wanting a Swedish work permit. The problem is that there has to be a real business activity before anyone can get such a work permit.
Now up to 200 people, and their families, risk to be deported from Sweden.
Last winter, the Migration Board started to suspect that the new law on labour migration was used by Chinese nationals coming to Sweden to be employed in more or less empty companies. This with the aim of getting a permanent residence permit in Sweden on false grounds.
A sample check revealed fake companies set up to get a working permit on false grounds in 90 per cent of the cases.
Some of these companies had even been helped by the Swedish government’s investment agency Invest Sweden.
Behind the scenes is one and the same law firm, acting as counsel in hundreds of cases with Chinese companies. It is about the Swedish law firm Magnusson Advokatbyrå, which seems to have made a business concept out of helping to set up fake companies in Sweden.
Implicated in the scandal is also a large number of Chinese websites that offers to put up empty companies in Sweden in order for Chinese nationals to obtain a residence permit and therefore be entitled to welfare for the whole family.
A person who Svenska Dagbladet has spoken with paid SEK 300,000 for his arrangement with a fake company.
“We thought their arrangement was perfectly legal. Now we do not know where to turn,” says the man, who has been in Sweden since the end of March.
In Shanghai, he came into contact with a man named Hu Xiaoqing on the website lifesweden.com.
“He said that all the facts were true, citing Magnusson Advokatbyrå.”
On 24 February this year Hu Xiaoqing was deported by the Migration Board because of having false grounds for his working permits. He himself were helped by Magnusson Advokatbyrå to set up a bogus company.
The Government has ordered an expedited review of Invest Sweden’s activities, partly because of all this, but also because of other suspicious irregularities.
Magnusson Advokatbyrå denies that it has helped to sett up fake companies. The law firm blames the Migration Board who they think has changed its rules without informing about it. But the Migration Board suspects systematic cheating and will investigate all cases together with the police.
The Secretary-General of the Swedish Bar Association calls for responses from Magnusson Advokatbyrå regarding the suspected cheating and is ready to open a disciplinary case.
Taking Chinese nationals to Sweden is a lucrative business for Magnusson Advokatbyrå who reportedly earns SEK 60-80000 per person who comes to Sweden.