UPDATED: Celebrated but deported refugee Maria Amelie has moved on from Moscow to Krakow in Poland, seven weeks after she was expelled from Norway following many years as an illegal alien. She still aims to return to Norway, as she awaits a hoped-for change in the law.
Amelie told newspaper Aftenposten recently that she “hopes to experience spring in Oslo.” She was supposed to make a public appeal for illegal aliens in Oslo on March 8, but that had to be cancelled after she was put on a plane back to Russia, which her family fled when she was still a teenager.
She acquired the documents needed to re-apply for work permission in Norway, where her parents remain in hiding and where her partner Eivind Trædal is waiting for her return. He accompanied her to Moscow when she was deported, but later had to leave her there when his own visa to Russia expired.
Norwegian media has since reported that Amelie left Moscow herself, after winning the right to live in a home for persecuted authors in Krakow. She now hopes to continue writing her account of the drama of her deportation in Poland, while waiting for Norwegian authorities to determine whether she can return to Norway, which she considers to be her home.
Amelie, Trædal and a host of others hope the government will act soon to ease strict laws against illegal aliens who have overstayed their welcome in Norway. Pål Lønseth, a state secretary in the Justice Department for the Labour Party, had indicated a reform would be introduced last month but it so far has not been forthcoming.
Asked why it was taking more time than expected, he said it’s a “complicated” reform that must be evaluated carefully regarding its consequences.
Illegal aliens until now have been barred from re-entering Norway for as long as five years or even more after they’ve been deported. Amelie stayed in Norway, secured a college education and even a master’s degree until she was arrested in January after writing a book about the plight of illegal aliens.
She has a job waiting for her when and if she’s allowed to return to Norway, as a journalist with the magazine Teknisk Ukeblad. Amelie won widespread sympathy for her situation and thousands held torchlit vigils and demonstration to support her attempts to stay in Norway.
Amelie, whose original name was Madina Salamova, remains a subject of controversy, however. Her residence in Krakow was also a matter of debate on Tuesday, with some disputing Amelie’s status as a “persecuted author” to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).