An extraordinary regularisation of some immigrants who have been living in Finland for a long time without the right to stay could be in the works.
The Finnish government said Monday that it is seeking "complementary solutions" for undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a long time and are difficult to return. This can sometimes be due to the lack of cooperation of the governments of the countries of origin or because they come from conflict zones.
A project launched on 24 May by the Ministry of the Interior is trying to find a solution so that these people are not left out of society, and also for rejected asylum seekers who have found a job. This is one part of a broad package aimed at preventing social exclusion and the emergence of a parallel society in Finland.
In a press release, the department led by Maria Ohisalo said a the project intends to "explore possible solutions to the situation of people who have resided in Finland for a long time without a right to stay."
Senior Ministerial Adviser Jutta Gras explained that "the aim now is to determine the conditions under which it would be justified to legalize the stay of these persons in Finland and to explore how this would be done. We will seek possible solutions from other EU countries and, above all, from the Nordic Countries."
According to the press release from the Interior Ministry, these possible extraordinary regularisations would be what the government considers "complementary solutions" to other regular mechanisms to deal with illegal immigration such as forced and voluntary returns, which would continue to be promoted.
"Cooperation with the countries of origin of those to be returned does not always work as desired. Therefore, complementary solutions are also needed for the situation of those who have been in the country for a long time without a right of stay," says the Interior Ministry.
The goal of the development of returns and complementary solutions is to "reduce the risks" that living without a right of stay poses to individuals themselves and to society.
Employed asylum seekers
The government also seeks to provide "more flexible opportunities" to secure a residence permit based on employment for those whose applications have been refused but who have found work.
This means that a person who is integrated and has found work in Finland could obtain a residence permit for an employed person more flexibly, even though he or she has not been considered to be in need of protection.
“The basic requirement for obtaining a residence permit is that a person can prove his or her identity with a reliable travel document. In some cases, an obstacle to obtaining a work-based permit has been that the applicant has not been able to present a valid travel document. It may be difficult to obtain a document if the person's home country does not have a diplomatic or consular mission in Finland,” says Kukka Krüger, Chief Specialist.
The project to be launched will examine whether a temporary residence permit and an alien’s passport could be obtained in such a case, provided that all other conditions for a residence permit are met.
In this case, the holder could continue to work in Finland with a residence permit based on employment and, with an alien’s passport, to travel to obtain a national passport of their own country.
Action plan 2021-2024
The project is based on the Action Plan for the Prevention of Irregular Entry and Stay published earlier in May. The plan consists in a total of 52 actions -of which 10 focus on the situation of people without a right to stay in Finland- and was updated for the period 2021-2024.
“Two of the actions will be implemented through the studies that will now be conducted. This is one part of a broad package aimed at preventing social exclusion and the emergence of a parallel society,” says Jutta Gras.
The Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior is preparing the project in close cooperation with the Police Department, the Finnish Immigration Service and the National Police Board.
In addition, other key authorities, experts and relevant parties, such as NGOs, will be consulted in the project.