Finnish Immigration Service: “Your wife’s unborn child can grow up without you; is the child going to be raised a Muslim?”

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Apparently, there is no guarantee in Finland that marriage or having a child with a Finnish citizen will guarantee asylum and a residence permit. It is the case of Abdul,* who spoke on condition of anonymity, an Iraqi asylum seeker who came to Finland in 2015. Contrary to many like him, Abdul is married to a Finnish woman who is expecting their child in September. 

Abdul’s story is a complex one like that of so many asylum seekers. The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has made life difficult for him for not mentioning some trips he made abroad. For this reason, they don’t believe his reason for seeking asylum.

A drawing by an asylum seeker that reads: “The journey [to Finland] was hard, please don’t deport us.”

“I got two negatives: one for asylum and another one for residence due to my pregnant [Finnish] wife,” he said. “I have been living with my wife [in Northern Ostrobothnia] since August 2016.”

Abdul applied for residence on family grounds in June 2017, a month after he got married, but was turned down.

“It took seven months to get an interview with Migri and then two-and-a-half months for their decision, which was negative,” he continued. “After the interview, they sent me 12 questions that I answered.”

Abdul and his wife were shocked when they heard the Migri official tell them at the interview that the child could grow perfectly well without a father.

“The Migri official said the child [that will be born] does not need his father and this is in my opinion a human rights violation,” he said. “My wife started to cry when she read the decision.”[1]

Another question that was asked to them in the interview was if the child was going to be raised a Muslim, according to Abdul.

The Iraqi asylum seeker’s wife and her family have vowed to move wherever Abdul is deported to from Finland.

“I refuse to leave Finland and live without my wife and child,” he concluded.  “Living like this and in constant uncertainty is not only hard on me but on all those around me.”

* The name was changed to protect his identity since he is still an asylum seeker. 

[1] Due to a misunderstanding in English, Abdul meant to say that the decision by Migri that the unborn child does not need to grow up with a father is, in his opinion, a human rights violation. The Migri official did not say that it was not a human rights violation. The wife cried when she read the rejection from Migri.

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