Finnish Immigration Concerns


These people are a security risk, and those who hide them are, in my opinion, committing a crime, a crime against the civil society. If any of their muslim settlers commit a crime, they should be charged as well.

Underground network takes to hiding rejected asylum seekers in their homes

Recent figures show that close to three-quarters of the asylum applicants that entered Finland since August 2015 are now being rejected. Not all of those who are turned down are leaving the country, however, as some are choosing to disappear off the radar instead. Yle met with members of a new makeshift underground network in Finland that is hiding the rejected applicants in their homes.

Sisäpihan piikkilanka-aitaa.

Some asylum seekers to Finland are housed at the detention centre in the Metsälä district of Helsinki, where they are denied freedom of movement. Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Private individuals in Finland have begun taking in asylum seekers who have received a negative residence permit decision.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle recently became aware of a group of 20 Finnish residents that is currently harbouring 5 asylum seekers the Finnish Immigration Service has rejected. The persons in the network wished to remain anonymous.

“Every day there are more people in need of a place to hide. We have compiled a list of contact persons that are ready to offer accommodation to people facing deportation. We also direct people to parishes because the church has money to feed them,” said one activist.

Concerned residents began to hide the unsuccessful asylum seekers in their homes after the Finnish Immigration Service began accelerating its asylum processing times in late May-early June. This is when the authority began to churn out negative decisions at a more rapid rate.

Not a crime

Offering an individual who has been denied asylum accommodation in one’s home is not considered a crime in Finland.

Many of the people who received a negative decision escape their reception centre to keep out of the reach of police. They want to stay in Finland even if they aren’t granted a residence permit or asylum.

In May the National Bureau of Investigation told the media channel MTV that 2,500 asylum seekers were missing from Finland’s reception centres, adding that it considered the missing people a security threat.

The activists interviewed by Yle say they wish to prevent and slow the deportations of rejected asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, as they believe the lives of the persons in question would be at risk in their home countries.

Director of the Immigration Service’s Asylum Unit Esko Repo said it is no use hiding people.

“They have to come forward at some point,” he says.

Stripped of their rights

The activists also point to Finland’s efforts this spring to undermine the human rights of asylum seekers with changes to Finnish law.

The country’s Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka and the Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen both expressed their concern about the state of asylum seekers’ legal protection when the changes were proposed.

In order to expedite the asylum process, the government proposed at the start of the year, for example, that the deadline for appeals be shortened from 30 days to 14, and legal advisory services only be offered free of charge if there were ”special pressing reasons”.

Jonkka pointed out at the time that every asylum seeker needs advice, if only for language reasons, and that the shorter appeal period may not conform with international standards for a state that claims to observe the rule of law.

Network provides legal aid

The underground network has contacts with lawyers who help to file appeals and submit applications for a standstill of the deportation. In cases where the Dublin Regulation applies, the appeals must be submitted as quickly as possible. In Finland, the administrative court system is the authority that hears appeals regarding asylum rejections.

“Finland’s tightened laws against foreigners and fast-track deportations are in direct opposition to constitutional law or our international obligations. The Finnish Constitution stipulates that all people are equal before the law, but at this moment, asylum seekers are not given equal treatment,” said an underground activist who preferred to stay nameless.

2,500 asylum seekers missing

Finnish police on the street are not known to be actively looking for asylum seekers who have disappeared from the reception centres. Officers may ask random people to show them a form of identification, but unless the people in hiding commit a crime, they are hard to find.

The activists in the underground network said they are contacted daily by other private residents of Finland who are willing to help and/or hide the growing number of asylum seekers who are now being turned away by the immigration authorities.

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