A Paradox Interactive manufacturer named Vachon Pugh is deported from the Swedish government due to a mistake by a former employer.
When applying for an extension of the standard work permit, the migration office asked for additional documents. To her surprise, she received a letter informing her that her work permit was being refused. She has only four weeks left to leave Sweden.
Paradox is one of the largest publishers of strategy games on the PC and has built up a good reputation over decades. Recruiting from international talent pools has helped them build their workforce over the years.
Changes to Swedish immigration laws
Since moving to Sweden three years ago, Pugh has worked for three companies, including Paradox. The migration authority found no problem with their first or current employer. However, her second employer did not pay out several work and pension insurance schemes during her trial period.
This became a problem as Sweden changed its immigration laws in 2015 to help workers avoid exploitation. The new laws said that workers needed proof of social security and pension payments from employers. Without these payments, the migration agency decided to reject their application.
“I don’t think my previous employer had bad intentions, it was a mistake. I understand that the rules are there to prevent people from being exploited, but I wasn’t exploited, it was an accident.”
The migration agency said in a letter to Pugh, “A period of approximately five and a half months of lost insurance over a two-year period with permits is sufficient to determine that the conditions for your previous work permit have not been met.”
Pugh is currently appealing to the Migration Court with the advice of a lawyer Paradox has provided.
“It is really good to know that your employer is fighting for you, but I am stressed to say the least. It is scary and I do not know what will happen. I keep staring at my things and wondering if I have to pack them “I have two cats that I adopted from a shelter in Malmo and I am worried about what will happen to them. It is also in the middle of a pandemic,” said Pugh in an interview.
Talent deportation in the Swedish tech scene
According to The Local, Pugh’s dream had been to move to Sweden and join the growing tech scene. First she moved to Malmö and later to Stockholm to work at Paradox Interactive, where she was given the task of overseeing the production of the Hearts of Iron IV game.
Paradox is currently one of the largest Swedish video game manufacturers and has more than 400 employers. Ebba Ljungerud, CEO of Paradox, said they fully support Pugh.
“It is a personal tragedy and a great loss for us. Vachon is developing one of our most popular games. It is difficult to develop a game and it is a very difficult task to find seniors. We as employers are also affected. Also if we are not to blame and Vachon is not to blame, it still affects us. “
Our colleague Vachon is deported due to mistakes made by a former employer. It is a decision that we want to do our best to fight and an issue that we believe requires more awareness.
It would mean a lot to us if you read about it: https://t.co/5yRYP9sj5v
– Paradox Interactive (@PdxInteractive) July 13, 2020
The Local reported that these new laws had resulted in the removal of hundreds of work permit holders for relatively minor administrative errors. It has become so commonplace that there is a new word for it: “kompensutvisning”, which means talent deportation.
Sweden relies heavily on foreign workers to fill skills gaps in industries such as technology. “Sweden as a country is trying to build our technology industry and that means we are trying to attract people from abroad. This reduces their willingness to move to Sweden for obvious reasons, ”Ljungerud told The Local.
Ljungerud asks the Swedish government to act now. She said: “I wish they would freeze these deportations until they were properly re-evaluated. This problem has been talked about for years, everyone seems to agree that it is not the intention of the law. “