Deported refugee cleared for return

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UPDATED: She’s back. Madina Salamova, also known as Maria Amelie, has been granted working permission back in Norway, three months after she was deported as an illegal alien. Amelie, who was in Krakow to work on a book when the clearance came, returned to Norway over the weekend.

Illegal, now legal, immigrant Maria Amelie, being interviewed on Norwegian Broadcating (NRK) before her deportation. PHOTO: Views and News/NRK

“Now I look forward to a more stable life,” Amelie told news bureau NTB. She has a job offer waiting for her in Oslo, as a journalist with the magazine Teknisk Ukeblad, and won working permission after Norway’s immigration law was changed to allow return for rejected refugees who have formal education and a relevant job offer in the country. The new law has been dubbed “Lex Maria.”

She landed at the Rygge airport near Moss on Saturday night and sent a text message to VG Nett saying she was “very glad to come back.” She also has said she’s grateful for all the support she received.

Amelie was arrested eight years after her family’s application for asylum was rejected. Amelie and her parents had initially fled from Caucasus, alleging persecution there, and stayed on illegally in Norway after failing to receive asylum. While her parents reportedly remain in hiding, Amelie continued her education, managed to receive her master’s degree from Norway’s technical university in Trondheim and supported herself mostly by working illegally in cleaning jobs.

She wrote a book about her experiences last year and, in doing so, brought attention to the plight of undocumented workers in Norway. Immigration authorities cracked down earlier this year, however, and Amelie was deported to Russia, despite several protest marches that attracted thousands of Norwegians sympathetic to Amelie’s situation.

Meanwhile, public pressure grew to ease Norway’s strict immigration laws, not least to meet demand for qualified workers who also have developed personal ties to the country. That resulted in the new regulations that will permit Amelie’s return. Amelie, now age 25, told newspaper Aftenposten she was grateful for everyone who has worked to help “bring me home, and committed themselves to my case.”

She celebrated her new legal status and ability to return to Norway with dinner in Krakow with her Norwegian sweetheart Eivind Trædal, also a journalist, and friends from Norway, and the couple was interviewed by Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Sunday after her return. There’s been no news about the status of her parents, who at last report remained in hiding as illegal aliens in Norway.

Views and News staff