Comment: Am I surprised? No way. Christian Democrat Minister Päivi Räsänen was chosen to head the interior ministry after the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won an impressive election victory on April 17. If her views on homosexuality are applied to immigration, it suggests that matters will get worse for the immigrant community before they improve.
Tightening immigration policy and making family reunification more difficult is another example of how the PS is breathing down the neck of the government.
Reports YLE: “At present, the large number of applications for immigrant status under the rules of family reunification has led to a backlog in processing. Officials have around 10,000 applications on file, most from Somalis.”
The key word in the paragraph above is “Somalis.” Finnish immigration authorities are speculated to be doing everything possible to hinder family reunification especially from countries like Somalia.
A plan to tighten immigration policy reveals as well that the government, like most of Finland, is still pretty much in the dark about what immigration is and what should its role be in this country.
Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen has told the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that she considers Finland’s practice in the reunification of the families of immigrants to be less strict than that of other countries. She added that while a review of immigration has only started, Finland will be imposing tougher criteria.
We have yet to see the fine detail of these proposals, but the scope for introducing strictly legal impediments to family reunification has narrowed considerably in the last decade (e.g. Council Directive 2003/86/EC), so it will be interesting to see how far the government is willing to go in imposing “practical” obstacles instead.
We can probably expect a few measures seeking to prevent applications from reaching the authority. This is rather like reducing the cost of hospice care by moving the alarm button a bit further away from the patient’s bed.
–This is rather like reducing the cost of hospice care by moving the alarm button a bit further away from the patient’s bed.
Well said! You have a way with words, JusticeDemon!
Heavier bureaucracy would certainly not come as a surprise. That said, the directive JD pointed out leaves room for tightening the controls, especially when it comes to Somalians. The directive outlines a special treatment for refugees, but it also defines refugees as by the Geneva convention. Thus, as most of the Somalians have their residence permits for secondary protection, rather as refugees, Finland can use the much stricter rules that apply to non-refugees. These allow the host country to require things like stable income, and reliable documentation about the family relations.
We shall see how this works out in practice, but criteria such as income and housing cannot be more onerous for humanitarian migrants than for migrant workers, and the standard of documentation required cannot assume the availability of documents that were never created or securely archived in the first place.