The Deputy Chancellor of Justice, Mikko Puumalainen has requested the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) to improve its customer services after receiving complaints related to delays in processing the applications and the treatment given to its clients.
The Finnish broadcasting company (Yle) published an article informing that the Deputy Chancellor of Justice has severely criticized Migri, specifically regarding a ruling of a complaint concerning a residence permit application based of family ties that was filed in July 2017 and took more than a year to process.
According to Yle's information, Migri spent 13 months handling the application and ignored inquiries sent by the applicant during the process. Finnish law says that Migri must provide a decision on such applications within 9 months. The complainant also informed the Deputy Chancellor that, in addition to not receiving any decision in the legally stated period, his spouse was "treated rudely by Migri officials" when phoned to ask about his case.
Workload is not an excuse
The Finnish Immigration Service has blamed the heavy workload supported by his personnel for this backlog and also acknowledged "a mistake" made by the official handling the case. But the Deputy Chancellor of Justice argued that Migri cannot use excess of work or lack of resources "as an excuse to not fulfill its legal obligations".
Puumalainen added that Migri has been dragging on problems for years when it comes to bringing its services into line with the legally-required standards. According to his statement, Migri is responsible for ensuring that the processing of applications is not delayed. And is also required to answer the customer's information requests about the timetable and the projected dates for decisions.
In the case reviewed by the Deputy Chancellor, the first concrete action taken by Migri was a request for further information which was sent to the applicant and to the applicant's spouse one year after the application was filed in July 2017. In the meantime, the applicant's spouse had made several attempts to consult Migri about the application process in 2017 and 2018, but she never received a reply.
Puumalainen ordered the Finnish Immigration Service to inform him no later than 10 November about the measures applied to ensure that the deadlines for processing the applications are met and the previous errors corrected. He also wants to know what will be done by Migri in order to "monitor and improve its customer services".
Yle reported this is not the first time that the Office of the Chancellor of Justice has intervened in favor of residence permit applicants who complain about Migri's long waiting periods and ignoring customer's inquires. In May 2017, the Chancellor of Justice already issued a formal notice of dereliction of its obligations after exceeding for four months the mandatory processing period for a request for a residence permit. Then, he remarked the importance of reuniting families that have escaped persecution in order to integrate them in the society.
How about you? Have you experienced too long delays in the processing of your applications? If so, leave as a comment and explain your case. And if you need to file a complaint, you can learn how to do it HERE