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Expansion of the target group for voluntary return to be examined

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 22.12.2022 13.15 | Published in English on 22.12.2022 at 15.53
Press release

Under certain conditions, Finland may assist the voluntary return of people to their home country. A study commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior will assess which new client groups should be included in the target group for voluntary return. The study will be conducted by Owal Group.

Currently, assistance for voluntary return may be given, for example, to non-EU citizens who have sought international protection and who leave Finland after cancelling their application or having received a negative asylum decision. In addition, assistance may be given to people who have been issued with a temporary residence permit because they are prevented from leaving the country, and to victims of human trafficking who do not have a municipality of residence in Finland.

Assistance may cover the costs of the return journey and financial assistance to enable the returnee to start a new life in the home country. Assistance may be financial or in-kind assistance. In-kind assistance means various items or services helping the person to start a small business or access education or training, for example.

According to the Action Plan for the Prevention of Irregular Entry and Stay, which was updated for 2021–2024, expanding the target group for assisted voluntary return is justified to prevent the emergence of a parallel society. Expanding the target group and making the necessary legislative amendments is one of the actions set out in the Action Plan to promote returns.

The study will draw on the analysis of written material and interviews with authorities and organisations involved in the return process. The study will be completed in February–March 2023.

According to the National Audit Office of Finland, the voluntary return system is fundamentally well-functioning and cost-effective. The benefits of the system to central government finances are significantly greater than the costs if it is used actively.

Niina Lääperi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 580, [email protected]
Risto Karinen, Director, Owal Group, tel. +358 50 535 1820, [email protected]