One of Norway’s most famous and beloved immigrants has legally returned to the country just three months after her forced deportation. Maria Amelie – real name Madina Salamova – touched down at Rygge Moss Airport on Saturday 16th April, after authorities finally granted her a work permit.
Writing in a text message to VG newspaper, Ms Amelie thanked all the people who had campaigned on her behalf and said, “I am very happy to return”. Her cause attracted widespread media attention and led to law changes which now allow illegal immigrants to apply for working visas in Norway.
“People who have been to Norway as asylum seekers can return as migrant workers, if they meet the immigration requirements for skilled workers, and have not violated Norwegian criminal law,” Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Justice, Paul Lonseth, said to NRK at the time.
Ms Amelie and her family applied for asylum in Norway in 2002 after fleeing Russia. She was rejected by the authorities, but continued living in the country illegally while obtaining a Master’s degree and releasing a book, ‘Illegally Norwegian’, about her plight.
She was arrested on 12th January this year and deported to Moscow, after which she moved to Krakow and lived under the protection of ICORN – an organisation which promotes freedom of speech for writers. According to The Foreigner, Maria Amelie will now be working for the Teknisk Ukeblad magazine in Norway.