Al Jazeera World

A Place of Refuge: Malmo and Nickelsdorf

In the Swedish city of Malmo and Austrian town of Nickelsdorf, refugees are looking to build a new life.

The Swedish city of Malmo, positioned at the eastern end of the Oresund Bridge with Denmark, and the Austrian town of Nickelsdorf, located near the borders of Hungary and Slovakia, have been on the route for refugees fleeing conflict and hardship for years.

In this film, we follow the stories of people who have left their native countries, each for different reasons, to build a new life in Western Europe.

Imad Tamimi teaches Swedish as a foreign language at an institute in Malmo. He left Nablus for Sweden nearly 10 years ago, and although his application for asylum was initially denied, he was determined to settle there. His big break came in 2018 when he covered for an absent language teacher and was hired full-time, enabling him to get Swedish residency.

By contrast, Moataz Kanaan, a Palestinian raised in Libya, is now homeless in Malmo. He fled Libya’s revolution in a small raft from Benghazi, was rescued and sent to Sardinia, and then headed north to Scandinavia, only to have his asylum application rejected.

Meanwhile in Nickelsdorf, a town with fewer than 2,000 people, Ismael Saleh works as a barman for a local Austrian. Saleh was a geology student in Syria who escaped to Turkey in 2014 before travelling to Western Europe.