Tayyab Shabab in the Radio Sweden studio.
Tayyab Shabab in the Radio Sweden studio. Credit: Richard Orange / Sveriges Radio

Top developer leaving Sweden for Berlin

5:12 min

Pakistani programmer Tayyab Shabab is giving up his year-long battle to stay in Sweden to take a job in Berlin, where getting a work permit took just one week. He told Radio Sweden of his mixture of relief and regret.

"I actually feel very sad when I think about leaving Sweden. I have established a life here. I have a lot of friends here," Shabab said.

Shabab has been described as a "world class developer" by his boss at Dynamo, a Stockholm-based mobile app company, and his campaign to stay in Sweden has won the backing of top tech figures such as Spotify founder Daniel Ek.

Shabab's application to have his work and residency permit renewed was rejected last November because of an administrative slip-up which saw his previous employer forget to take out occupational pension insurance for him.

After he lost his appeal case in the Stockholm Migration Court in May, Shabab appealed to the Migration Court of Appeal.

But over the summer, he decided he could not spend another year waiting for the court case to take place, and started to apply for jobs in Berlin. 

"Just for a second, if I imagine that the higher court takes my case, then it might take one more year to give any decision, and that is still a lot of time," he explained.

"And I don't know what they're going to say after one year. It's a lot of uncertainty, and I have been very depressed and stressed in the last couple of months."

Shabab expressed wonder that getting a work permit in Germany for his wife and himself took just one week.

He blamed the way Sweden had chosen to manage the large influx of refugees, which came into the country in 2015, for the system's slowness.

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