Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen is on the anti-immigration warpath again

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Anti-immigration and anti-gay hardliner Christian Democrat interior minister, Päivi Räsänen, said on YLE in English that she’s in favor of tightening immigration policy further by closing a “loophole” for asylum seekers. Under the present law, those asylum seekers whose application has been turned down, can get temporary residence for two years before acquiring a permanent residence permit. 

While we’re speaking of a “huge” number of asylum seekers – about 200 in all – it’s these types of laws that not only reveal our suspicion of asylum seekers and migrants in general, but ensures that skilled migrants will not move to Finland in significant numbers.

And why would they? Migrants want to move to countries where other migrants live – not some cold place that is unsure about its ever-growing cultural diversity and where too many politicians treat refugees like “welfare shoppers.”

What’s wrong if a person wants to move from a country where he has no future to one where there’s opportunity? Isn’t that what over 1.2 million Finnish emigrants did between 1860 and 1999? Can you punish somebody for seeking a better future?

In order for Finland to begin accepting its ever-growing cultural diversity, it has to revisit its history and ask why during most of the last century until 1995, when Finland became an EU member, did it do everything possible to hinder migrants and foreign investment to the country.

Kuvankaappaus 2014-2-2 kello 10.26.28
Read full story here.

Räsänen’s get-tough stand on a handful of asylum seekers isn’t surprising since it’s the same policy and attitude that many politicians have about refugees, migrants and our ever-growing cultural diversity.  It’s a good example of the usual overkill by them.

According to YLE in English, the change in the law would affect asylum seekers especially from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, which are ravaged by war.

“A person that does not voluntarily leave to a country seen as safe gets a temporary residence permit, that after two years becomes a permanent residence permit,” Räsänen was quoted as saying on Yle in English. “We propose that the law is changed so that temporary residence permits are no longer granted on that basis.”

Some human rights associations believe that the new law will encourage asylum seekers to become undocumented migrants.

  1. JusticeDemon

    Significant details can easily get lost when translators and journalists have too little time to study the relevant background.

    Räsänen refers to a temporary permit that becomes permanent “in practice” (muuttuu käytännössä pysyväksi) after two years. This is a shorthand way of describing a system with three types of permission to remain: “temporary”, “continuous” and “permanent”. The basic idea is that “temporary” permission may last for no longer than two years, and if certain grounds for residence (such as work) continue for longer than this, then the immigration authority must concede that the permission should be “continuous”, meaning “provisionally permanent”. The probationary period of continuous permission is then four years. If the grounds for remaining again continue beyond this four-year probationary period and the foreigner has spent more than half of this time in Finland, then the permission must become “permanent” and can no longer be periodically reviewed.

    The modifications discussed in this news release are hardly news, as the Interior Ministry initiated a legislation project to this effect in November 2012. The provisional ideas of the associated committee were circulated for comments in mid-December 2013 in the form of a draft government bill, and as usual we can see that no immigrant organisations were consulted. More interestingly in some ways, the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations has been excluded from the list of official recipients.

    I have not studied the proposal in detail, but it occurs to me that the only practical effect of withholding permission to remain is to make it impossible for the person concerned to work legally or participate in labour market training, in effect enforcing a state of permanent welfare dependency.