Tariq: Is there justice in Finland? (Part 2)

by , under Migrant Tales

This is Part 2 of Tariq’s* ordeal in Finland. Go here to read Part 1.

This is my case:

I have been living in Finland for eleven years. I moved here to be with my wife, and upon arriving, I started to work and study at the same time. After three years in the country, my ex-wife wanted a divorce, and we separated on friendly terms. I lived in Kanta-Häme area for four years.

My ex had a close friend working as a police officer in the Kanta-Häme region, and he was dealing with immigrant cases. I was invited to his office after my divorce and was questioned on the details of my divorce process to see if I still had legal reasons to stay living in Finland. I was working at the time and received a study place shortly after.

I moved to the Helsinki region and started my new life. Later, in Helsinki, I went to the police station to ask for some information. After getting my documents to process my request, the office informed me that there was something written in my info about me that I was completely unaware of and still don’t know exactly what it is. He took my residence permit card and told me to wait. He returned after some minutes with his supervisor, they asked me to follow them inside the station, and I was questioned on issues like what I was doing here since my divorce.

I told them I was studying and had about three months left to complete my graduation. He informed me that the police had canceled my residence permit and that I had thirty days to leave the country or be deported. He took my residence permit away and refused to give it back when I asked.

I asked him whether he had the right to take my permit away, and his answer was that he had the right to do so. I left the police station and went to meet a lawyer. I explained the situation, and she told me he had no right to take my residence card. Immediately she called the police officer that had taken my card away, and she told him that he didn’t have the right to do that by any laws since I hadn’t broken any laws in Finland. He said that he had an order from the Kanta-Häme police to take my permit away on site.

I have been officially asking the police about this order, but I have been denied access to my info here in Finland.

After this incident, I was forced to quit school with three months left. I had to find a job and then apply for a residence permit based on my work contract. I was also denied the permit because my salary fell short of a hundred euros from the minimum, which you have to have to finance my life here. They informed my boss directly that I didn’t have a valid permit and couldn’t work because of that. My boss contacted Migri [Finnish Immigration Service] and told them that I was doing my job, they were happy with me and didn’t understand why I couldn’t get the necessary permit to continue.

I didn’t stay waiting and so went looking for a new job, with a higher salary of about three thousand euros and with that I appealed against their decision, but again they refused. This time, I changed jobs to apply for a residence permit.

Since this time, I have been harassed by the police. For some reason, I just started getting a lot of traffic fines. I received tickets for speeding and reckless driving from the police without evidence, such as dashcam videos. Went many times to court due to these fines since I contested them, but in court, I always lost. The court told me they don’t think the police can lie. Also, during one stop a policeman was shouting and cursing at me when approaching; for this incident, I had a witness in the car with me. I took the fine to the court, where the case went on for seven hours with my lawyer Miro Delgado. The judge ultimately decided that I was fined wrongfully, and the fine was canceled. The two policemen weren’t reprimanded for their behavior or wrongfully giving me the fine. I had to sell my car because of this continuous harassment.

During the time we were going through this process, I started a new relationship, I got married, and was granted a residence permit for family reasons.

In 2016 I applied for citizenship, it normally takes one year to get a decision, but in my case, it took the immigration office three years to give me a negative answer. The negative decision was because I had been legally in the country all this time without a residence permit, which directly resulted from the immigration office’s long processing times and cancellation of my residence permit. That was also the reason for not getting permanent residence in the country.

Each migrant who survives in Finland deserves a medal for heroism.

Since then, I have been given a maximum of two or three years’ permit to stay in the country. This means that every two or three years I have to apply for a new permit. This has been going on for about eleven years, during which time I have graduated as an educator for children with special needs and have been holding several different jobs. I have been working actively for almost seven years of the nine years that I have been in the country. For the last two and half years, I have been on sick leave for depression and physical symptoms due to harassment that I experience from the police and immigration.

The current situation is that I have tried to launch a criminal investigation on the police and the immigration authorities here for them withholding my papers, for example, the order from Kanta-Häme to take away my residence permit. The police have refused to take my case seriously and have not taken any action. I have complained about not being able to see my file to the parliamentary data protection ombudsman. I contacted the internal affairs ministry and the prime minister’s office by sending an email to the secretary several months ago. I didn’t get any answer from either of the authorities in the country. I also sent emails to the parliament, and the answer was that they were sorry to hear about my case, but they couldn’t help me.

Is this what the system wants us to have here in Finland, destroying us to the point where we cannot work or have a peaceful life in this country?”

Read Part 1 of Tariq’s ordeal here.

*The real name was changed to protect the person’s identity. If you want to send Tariq a message, please send your emails to [email protected]