Legislative amendments concerning preparedness for mass influx of migrants circulated for comments
On 23 June, the Ministry of the Interior sent out for comments draft legislative amendments that would support preparedness for a possible mass influx of migrants. The need for change has been identified in the development work that the authorities have been carrying out since 2015.
The reception act would clarify the coordination of preparedness for a mass influx of migrants. The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for the reception system for asylum seekers. In the event of a mass influx of migrants, the Finnish Immigration Service has the lead in operational responsibility in this respect. Therefore, provisions on its coordinating role and tasks should be laid down at the level of an act of Parliament too.
The Act on the Treatment of Detained Aliens and on Detention Units would be amended in such a way that, in the event of a mass influx of migrants, persons who are not in a public-service employment relationship could also be temporarily employed for guidance and supervision tasks in detention units. In this way, the detention capacity could also be increased more quickly if there was a need for it in the event of a mass influx of migrants.
A provision on enlisting support from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) would be added to the Aliens Act. According to the EASO Regulation, in the event of a mass influx of migrants, the Support Office could be asked to send support teams consisting of EASO staff members and officials from other EU countries to Finland. The submission of the request would be decided at the government plenary session.
The act on migration authorities’ processing of personal data would be amended to allow the Finnish Immigration Service to disclose to a member of the support team information that is necessary for carrying out asylum examinations and for serving decisions.
The deadline for submitting comments is 6 August 2021. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session 2021. The term of the project has been extended until 31 March 2022.
Low number of new asylum applications
A mass influx of migrants is a situation in which reception centres for asylum seekers, including additional accommodation, are reaching maximum capacity and there is a constant influx of new migrants, with more arriving than leaving the country. Such a situation may arise gradually or abruptly, because of the massive displacement of people from a country towards Finland, for example.
At the moment, there is no expectation of a similar situation in the near future as that which occurred in 2015. Since 2018, the number of asylum seekers arriving in Finland has been smaller than before 2015, and about 300 first asylum applications have been submitted this year. The fluctuations in migration flows along different routes are closely monitored, and Finland maintains an up-to-date picture of the situation both nationally and as part of the European Union.
Jorma Kantola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 215, [email protected]