Helsingin SanomatAsylum seekers to Finland last year came at a record high. Their number exceeded for the first time the 4000 limit. Most asylum seekers arrived from Iraq (1253), Somalia (1176) and Afghanistan (249) – ie the countries where war is taking place.Last year saw significant things that could have far-reaching consequences. The change to previous years was high. In 2007, 1505 asylum-seekers came to Finland, before that the number of candidates had been declining for a couple of years.Also in January, there arrived in Finland about 500 new asylum seekers. If the numbers stay as such from month to month, this year, there will arrive to Finland about 6000 asylum seekers. Another related, major change last year, was the strong surge in the number of under age children arriving. Last year, 647 minors came to Finland alone, about seven times more than in previous years.Immigration authorities do not have a simple explanation why the number of asylum seekers began to increase last year. The change may be explained by the fact that in Sweden and Norway, immigration policies have been tightened.Sweden has now had a new policy tested in the courts, according to which it is no longer enough to seek asylum or a residence permit solely because the person is entering from an unsafe region, but he/she must be able to demonstrate a personal need for protection.Norway in turn, changed the policy in the summer, so that the rest of a family of a minor, who is near maturity, and seeking asylum, can no longer automatically enter the country after him. Norway’s new guidelines have been estimated to reflect directly upon the number of asylum seeking minors to Finland. A large part of the incoming asylum seekers have come to EU territory through another EU country and then have gone ahead to look for a new country of residence. In this kind of traffic information of a country’s policy spreads rapidly.People from Somalia, especially minors, means that the amount of asylum seekers will grow automatically because the number of Somalis getting residency permits have grown in recent years. According to current figures, immigration authorities estimate that in three to four years around 4,000 Somalis will be arriving to Finland each year. This estimate is based on the assumption that future Somali families will arrive here in Finland. They have humanitarian rights to it enshrined in the immigration law. If the calculations are correct, the entire Somali community will double in few years. At present, there is estimated to be around 10 000 people of Somali background in Finland.Is Finland able to manage this change?Many of the Somalis arriving here are uneducated and illiterate, and the families are large. Their integration requires substantial additional investments.The second question is, where the entrants are to be placed.The Mayor of Helsinki, Jussi Pajunen, has stated that Helsinki’s resources are not sufficient enough to meet the requirements of the growth in numbers of asylum seekers.The reluctance to accept more asylum-seekers cab be found elsewhere.At the same time, the government is planning in the name of its productivity program, a reduction in the immigration agency’s personnel. Asylum applications are already badly congested.Now is the time to stop and make an assessment of Finland’s asylum policy and its relationship with the policies of neighboring countries. If this line of reasoning and the balancing of resources is not done now, the situation may in a few years be out of control.
NOTE: Finnish politician and critic of mass immigration, Jussi Halla-aho, is being investigated by the Finnish police for providing his readers with similar data such as the HS is providing here. One can only wonder if state presecutor Mika Illman will now turn his sights on the country’s largest newspaper, the Helsingin Sanomat, or will he just stick to trying to intimidate individual bloggers who dare to speak their minds about the obvious? KGS