Finnish parliament improves asylum rights, but there is still a long way to go

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Parliament voted Wednesday to lift some of the restrictions it imposed in 2016 during the government of Juha Sipilä, which, among other matters, lowered the deadline for appeals and legal assistance to asylum seekers., according to the Refugee Advice Council.

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One of these includes the deadlines for appeals originally reduced to 21 days from 30 days in the second instance. The deadline for appeals is now restored to 30 days.

Moreover, asylum seekers’ cases will face greater scrutiny to avoid the return of people wrongfully. One complaint that the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) had was that it did not carefully check asylum seekers’ cases and thus put people in harm’s way.

While these matters will improve the legal situation of asylum seekers, there are several laws from 2016 that hinder family reunification and the offering of residence on humanitarian grounds.

It is an important first step but there are many more that must be taken.