Entrepreneur Getting Deported for Taking Pay Cut

Swedish Migration Agency admits 'it may sound harsh'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2018 5:48 PM CST
Entrepreneur Saves His Company, Gets Deported
Lund, Sweden: Home to Birka Biostorage, possibly not home to Birka Biostorage co-founder Hussein Ismail for much longer.   (Getty Images/Perboge)

An entrepreneur in Sweden may have saved his company only to get himself deported in the process, the Local reports. Hussein Ismail was living in Lebanon when he co-founded Birka Biostorage—located in Sweden—in 2011. He worked remotely until it finally became necessary to physically be at his company and came to Sweden in 2014 on an employee's residence permit. The following year, Birka started having financial difficulties. "We agreed that as we were going through a tough time economically in the start-up, we needed to make sacrifices in order to keep going and survive," Ismail says. He says he voluntarily took a pay cut to save the company.

Now, Birka Biostorage is thriving and recently celebrated plans to get "ten times bigger." Ismail says if he hadn't taken the pay cut back then they "wouldn’t be in the position we are in now, with the plans we have." The only problem: The Swedish Migration Agency says Ismail violated the minimum salary requirements of his collective employment agreement. It declined to extend his work permit and gave him four weeks to leave the country. The law is meant to keep employees from being exploited. "We fully understand that it may seem harsh, but the law as it is designed today does not provide space for people with an employee’s residence permit to consciously waive legally defined requirements," a Migration Agency spokesperson says. She says it would be different if Ismail had gotten a residence permit as an entrepreneur. Read the full story here for Ismail's plans to appeal. (Read more Sweden stories.)

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