Why put up barbed wire bureaucracy in front of those who want to participate in our educational society?
You have probably heard about the international university of Lund, Sweden. The university with all the slogans and commercial messages to brand Swedish education abroad. But when you start to scratch the surface, maybe it doesn’t look as inviting.
One known example is the tough residence permit rules sometimes forcing students to travel to other continents just to send their application forms. Other examples include the refusal to allow Iranian students to open bank accounts based solely on their nationality, and the view that scholarships awarded to top-class students from developing countries are considered part of our government’s charity projects. With this in mind it is hard not to marvel on how we treat international students wanting to join Swedish universities.
Some of my closest friends are international master students. Closing in to their degrees, they have naturally been wanting to stay. But they face a tough road to do so with their residence permits closed down quickly after the conclusion of their studies. So, some have solved their situation through complex social relations, pretending to be “sambos” to friends, while others have been forced to leave their dreams behind, disappointed.
Very few manage, by increasing their chances working like slaves at some part-time job during their full-time studies to even get a chance of a full time job and a working permit the day they graduate. The job and the salary above 13 000 kronor is what you need to get a permit. And with language and cultural barriers, this gets even more difficult.
So what’s the reason behind all this fuss? Some leads on the restrictive politics could be found in a report from the Swedish Migration Board in 2005. The report reveals suspicions that more than one in four incoming students were not coming here for their studies, but rather to search for jobs under false pretences. Therefore, stricter control was promoted, and thicker layers of laws were implemented.
So maybe the barbed wire bureaucracy has become too thick? In 2006 a commission (SOU 2006:87) already supported a change in the law to give students, who finished their studies, a chance to stay longer. But nothing has happened, yet however in 2011 another commission (SOU 2011:28) suggested that the students would be given a six months stay, so they would have a better chance to establish themselves.
But still. this is not the best reception party you could ask for. And I’m afraid that a lot of these stories are left unheard. That is why we want to bring this forward to those involved at our international university. This is also the reason we engage translators, Swedish students and international students to participate at Lundagard.net
Do you want to join the telling of the story about the international Lund? Welcome.
What would you like us to write about? Contact us here
Translation: Lloyd Cameron and Lars Jansson