Archbishop Kari Mäkinen said that family reunification of Africans with their families in Finland is not only costly but dangerous, reports YLE. Since Finland does not have an embassy in war-ravaged Somalia, Somalis are required to apply for residence permits in neighboring Ethiopia or Kenya.
The Finnish Immigration Service has a backlog of about 10,000 family reunification applications. Most of them are from Somalia.
Family reunification is a normal part of immigration. Finns who emigrated to the North America from the 1860s not only encouraged their relatives to follow them but their neighbors and friends as well.
Migrant Tales has written about the expensive ordeal that Somalis have to endure when applying for a residence permit in Ethiopia or Kenya.
The first blog entry, The long and costly ordeal of family reunification from Somalia to Finland, revealed that a two-and-a-half year wait in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, can cost a family of six between $9,000 and $12,000.
The second blog entry, Feeding Somalis and poor immigrants to the loan sharks of Finland, showed how some immigrants in Finland have to turn to loan sharks in order to help their relatives finance their residence applications from the Finnish embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
If the aim of Finnish immigration officials is to make family reunification as difficult as possible for some immigrants, then they are doing an effective job. It explains why the whole process takes so long, is expensive and even dangerous.