Visa for non EU PhD students and a short story about engagement

After a 3 years-long journey, we have finally reached an intermediate goal! The bill regarding the visa for PhD studies was approved this tuesday by the Swedish parliament (watch the full discussion in Swedish here).

The approval of this bill allows PhD students to stay temporarily in the country after the end of the PhD studies to look for a job. Unfortunately, even with this new law, the one year-long visa problem still persists and DS will make sure this issue will not be forgotten.

DS has been one of the driving forces behind this process together with Chalmers, the union, the national council for students in Sweden and every autonomous student organization.

Here is the story I promised about engagement. At the very start of this process, there was a student at Chalmers, Joakim Kalantari, who got to know about this problem in 2009 at a friend’s gathering. He thought that this issue needed to be solved and for that reason decided to join DS, of which he became chairman. In Ds he found a group of students that were eager to discuss the problem and look for solutions. DS spread effectively the awareness of the problem at different levels. A first example is the proposal of a motion to the faculty council at Chalmers which generated a strong commitment from the university on this issue (radio interviews and a point at Almedalen). However, a national issue requires a bigger organization. Thus, Joakim engaged himself in SFS, the Swedish National Union of Students. Even here, there was a group of students who engaged themselves and proactively proposed several initiatives. For example, they managed to contact several politicians and publish an article in DN about the issue. And now, after 3 years from that first discussion and the contribution of many organizations and individuals, a bill has been approved by the Swedish parliament.

No person alone can make such a big change. Organizations like DS are in place for committed people to get in touch with each other and enable change to happen. With this, I want to tell you that there are enormous possibilities to change the world you live in and that even a PhD student can contribute to changing Swedish laws for the better. DS is an important vehicle to drive such a change and all of you are part of it. Take this opportunity, give strength to the bodies representing you by flooding them with interest and participation.

Francesco Mazzotta
Chairman DS 2013-14