Sofyan Aswad: "I thought the whole time that there was no point in trying to do things in the proper way, because everything goes to the dogs in any case"
Like many other immigrants who came to Sweden in 2015 I was full of dreams and hopes of what I would be able to achieve in this beautiful country.
When I applied for asylum the law was such that all refugees from Syria should be given a permanent residence permit.
I didn't have any friends living here, and my reason for choosing to remain in Sweden was the reputation of the country all over the world, its democratic, social and economic system, and the friendliness of the Swedes. I thought things out strategically - I was going to spend the rest of my life here. I had to make sure I could remain in this beautiful country.
To begin with I lived in a little town in Skåne called Perstorp. Every day I sat at home waiting for the postman. I dreamed of that letter from the immigration authorities . I waited for a long time for the message that would literally change my life.
In the two and a half years I had to wait there was a change in the law. There was no longer anything called a permanent residence permit in Sweden. All my friends had got a permanent residence permit and had started their Swedish working life. For me the outlook was bleak.
”I was frustrated, and thought the whole time that there was no point in trying to do things in the proper way, because everything goes to the dogs in any case.”Sofyan Aswad
The temporary residence permit I finally got was a nightmare. I wondered why I had to learn Swedish and develop as a person when I had the threat hanging over me of having to leave everything at any moment and go back to the country I had left.
There is only one way to get a permanent residence permit, and that is by having a permanent job. For me, a journalist with a foreign background who had lived in Sweden for just three years, it seemed almost impossible.
I was frustrated, and thought the whole time that there was no point in trying to do things in the proper way, because everything goes to the dogs in any case.
But I started learning the language and worked on developing myself to be able to find a permanent job and apply for a permanent residence permit.
It was not an easy path to follow, and the challenges were huge. I had to work and study at the same time, and I had to develop as fast as I could to get a permanent job on the newspaper.
”Words cannot describe my feelings when a letter came from the immigration authorities saying that I had been granted a permanent residence permit.”Sofyan Aswad
With the help and support of my wonderful bosses I obtained a permanent job, and applied to the immigration authorities for a permanent residence permit. Words cannot describe my feelings when a letter came from the immigration authorities saying that I had been granted a permanent residence permit.
That is the key to a more settled life for me and my future family. Now I can plan my future, where I want to live or whether to buy a house, for example.
There's no doubt that it is extremely demanding to keep your strength up when the going is hard, but if you have a sturdy ship you can manage the voyage even in hard seas.