SHARE
COPY LINK

IMMIGRATION

Kosovo PM’s brother sought asylum in Germany

Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa said Sunday his brother had sought asylum in Germany, after joining the mass migrant influx into the European Union last year.

Kosovo PM's brother sought asylum in Germany
Photo: DPA

The confirmation came after investigative news website Insajderi.com reported Saturday that Ragip Mustafa had requested asylum in Germany's southwestern Rheinland-Pfalz state.

According to a document published by the news portal, he applied for asylum on June 24, only days before his brother was received by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

“It's true. I was informed after it occurred … that he had requested asylum outside the country, in order to seek medical assistance for a difficult disease which could not be cured in Kosovo,” Mustafa wrote on his Facebook page.

Kosovo is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and the only one from the Balkans not to enjoy the EU's Schengen visa-free travel regime.

More than a million refugees and migrants swept up through the Balkans in 2015 heading for Europe, most of them from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to EU statistic office Eurostat, around 70,000 Kosovars applied for asylum in the last two years, making it the fourth largest asylum-seeking nation after Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mustafa said his brother was not the only family member to leave for Germany: his nephews and nieces had taken the same illegal migrant route via Hungary, and were returned afterwards.

“This only proves that my family shares the fate of the rest of the citizens of Kosovo, the problems they face,” Mustafa wrote on Facebook.

“As prime minister I am trying to find a solution, to ensure visa liberalisation, to attract investment and to create job opportunities, to improve the health system, so that fewer of our citizens need to request

healing outside the country,” he added.

According to Insajderi.com, the premier's brother took the same illegal route as thousands of other Kosovars, through the Serbian-Hungarian border, making his way initially to France, where his first asylum request was denied.

Ragip Mustafa then went to Germany, where he applied for asylum again, the report said.

Kosovo, a former Serbian breakaway province put under UN administration after the 1998-1999 war,declared independence in 2008.

 

SWEDISH CITIZENSHIP

‘The idea is to convert permanent residency into Swedish citizenship,’ Migration minister says

Sweden's Migration Minister has responded to criticism of the government's proposal to abolish permanent residency, telling an interviewer that the hope is that holders will gain full citizenship rather than get downgraded to temporary status.

'The idea is to convert permanent residency into Swedish citizenship,' Migration minister says

“The main idea behind the [Tidö] agreement is that we should convert permanent residency to citizenship,” Maria Malmer Stenergard, from the right-wing Moderate Party, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.”You should not be here forever on a permanent residence permit. A clear path to citizenship is needed.”

I envision that you will receive individual plans for how to achieve this,” she continued. “Learn the language, earn a living, and have knowledge of Swedish society, so that you can fully become a Swedish citizen.” 

Malmer Stenergard said it was still unclear whether a planned government inquiry into the possibility of “converting…existing permanent residence permits” would also open the way for those who have been given a permanent right to live in the country to be downgraded to a temporary residency permit. 

“We’ll have to look at that,” she said. “There is a problem with positive administrative decisions and changing them, which the Migration Agency’s director general Mikael Ribbenvik has been aware of. We also state in the Tidö Agreement that basic principles of administrative law shall continue to apply.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about Sweden’s plans to withdraw permanent residency?

In the Tidö Agreement, the deal between the far-right Sweden Democrats and the three government parties, it says that “asylum-related residence permits should be temporary and the institution of permanent residence permits should be phased out to be replaced by a new system based on the immigrant’s protection status”.

It further states that “an inquiry will look into the circumstances under which existing permanent residence permits can be converted, for example through giving affected permit holders realistic possibilities to gain citizenship before a specified deadline. These changes should occur within the framework of basic legal principles.”

Malmer Stenergard stressed that the government would only retroactively reverse an administrative decision (over residency) if a way can be found to make such a move compatible with such principles. 

“This is why we state in the Tidö Agreement that basic principles of administrative law must apply,” she said. 

She said the government had not yet come to a conclusion on what should happen to those with permanent residency who either cannot or are unwilling to become Swedish citizens. 

“We’re not there yet, but of course we’re not going to be satisfied with people just having an existing permanent residency, which in many cases has been granted without any particularly clear demands, if they don’t then take the further steps required for citizenship.” 

This did not mean, however, that those with permanent residency permits should be worried, she stressed. 

“If your ambition is to take yourself into Swedish society, learn the language, become self-supporting, and live according to our norms and values, I think that there’s a very good chance that you will be awarded citizenship.” 

She said that even if people couldn’t meet the requirements for citizenship, everyone with permanent residency should at least have “an individual plan for how they are going to become citizens”, if they want to stay in Sweden. 

When it comes to other asylum seekers, however, she said that the government’s aim was for residencies to be recalled more often. 

“We want to find a way to let the Migration Agency regularly reassess whether the grounds for residency remain. The aim is that more residencies should be recalled, for example, if a person who is invoking a need of asylum or other protection then goes back to their home country for a holiday.” 

SHOW COMMENTS