Filipina Christalline has recently lost her appeal on the Swedish Migration Court’s decision to deport her despite being married to her Swedish husband for five years and sharing two young children with him, writes Swedish daily Aftonbladet.
The court is deporting Christalline because she came to Sweden without a residence permit, something she claims the Swedish Migration Agency told her she did not need, and now she has to leave the country to obtain such before she will be allowed to return to Sweden again. The Swedish Migration Agency does not consider the children to be young enough for her to apply for a residence permit in Sweden and be with them pending a decision – a process that according to the authority’s website can take over a year and must be done at the Swedish embassy in Bangkok as that’s the closest one to the Philippines that handles such cases.
According to Swedish law, one must be granted a residence permit before entering Sweden, but there are possibilities for exceptions if you have a strong connection to a person living in Sweden and if it has consequences for the children.
Christalline and Joel have known each other for seven years and met each other during Joel’s first week in the Philippines in 2014. In 2016, the couple married in Sweden and had their first son Astor and after little sister, Elsa was born in 2018 the couple decided to move to live and raise their children in Sweden.
Before leaving the Philippines the couple contacted the Swedish Migration Agency where she was informed that her case was an exception from the rule because of the children and partly because Elsa was still breastfed so Christalline did not apply for a residence permit before coming to Sweden with her family. Upon arrival, however, the couple was immediately told that Christalline’s case was not an exception from the rule, and in November 2019, the Swedish Migration Agency rejected Christalline’s application for a residence and work permit in Sweden for the following reason, “the state’s interest in regulating immigration, in this case, outweighs you and Joel Larsson’s interest in practicing family life in Sweden.”
Joel and Christalline have appealed the case twice but the Migration Court of Appeal announced on 15 February that the Migration Court’s decision was upheld and Christalline now has four weeks to leave Sweden and her family indefinitely.
According to the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok’s website, the processing time for residence permits is between 13-15 month, the Swedish Migration Agency however states that takes 3-4 months but does not deny that it takes much longer in most cases. The family says it’s also uncertain when Christalline will be allowed to enter Thailand to apply for it due to corona restrictions and she is devastated by the prospect of being away from her children for months on end.
According to the family’s lawyer Sait Umdi, the decision is contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention on the Right to Protection of Private and Family Life and says that the two children risk being without their mother for a long time and the Swedish Migration Agency cannot guarantee how long the processing will take. Adding that they are still young and it is important for them to have both their parents.
The family has started a petition against the decision and is now considering moving to another EU country, where Christalline could obtain a residence permit without the family splitting up.