Ministry of the Interior prepares to tighten the rules on international protection
The Ministry has set up three projects aimed at tightening the rules on international protection in line with the Government Programme. The planned changes will make international protection temporary in nature and introduce the option to withdraw protection if the applicant commits a serious offence. Finland will also introduce a new border procedure and make the asylum process more efficient.
The Programme of Petteri Orpo's Government states that Finland will introduce more stringent provisions into the legislation on international protection within the scope permitted by the Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU) and the Asylum Procedures Directive (2013/32/EU). The Qualification Directive contains provisions on the qualification of applicants as beneficiaries of international protection, their status, and the content of the international protection granted. The Asylum Procedures Directive lays down common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection.
International protection becomes temporary in nature
The purpose of the first project is to introduce the more stringent provisions made possible by the Qualification Directive. The project will make international protection temporary in nature and shorten the length of international protection permits to the minimum allowed by the Directive. In future, a permit based on granted asylum would be valid for three years and a permit based on subsidiary protection for one year.
In addition, the project will implement the Government Programme’s objectives of withdrawing a person’s international protection status and their residence permit based on that status and imposing an entry ban on them, if the person commits a serious offence in Finland that endangers public order and security or if the person endangers national security. The principle of non-refoulement will not be violated. The regulation on this issue is also based on the Qualification Directive.
New border procedure prevents applicants from moving within the EU
Another project tightening the provisions on international protection concerns the introduction of the border procedure under the Asylum Procedures Directive. The border procedure will be applied in situations where an asylum application has been lodged at or in the immediate vicinity of the EU external border and is expected to be unfounded. The introduction of the border procedure seeks, on the one hand, to prevent asylum seekers from moving to other parts of the Union and, on the other, to apply the procedure in the manner referred to in the Directive in all migration situations.
The project will also prepare the necessary legislative amendments to enable the application of the accelerated asylum procedure in all cases that fall within the scope of the Asylum Procedures Directive. In future, the accelerated procedure could also be applied to examining applications submitted by applicants considered to be a threat to national security and public order.
Processing of applications becomes more efficient
The third project aims to improve the efficiency of the asylum process in line with the Government Programme. The project will link the asylum process more clearly to the Asylum Procedures Directive and examine what kind of key information should be obtained at the application registration and lodging stage. In particular, the amendments will support the identification of the asylum seeker as early as possible during the process.
The asylum process will place more emphasis on the asylum interview. The current practice of going over the asylum interview record with the asylum seeker would be abolished without, however, compromising the asylum seeker’s legal protection. The project will be supported by a study on the processing of asylum applications and the application approval rates in other EU Member States.
People fleeing war, persecution and other human rights violations have the right to apply for asylum
Finland is committed to international treaties, such as the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), international human rights treaties and EU legislation. Based on these, Finland is committed to providing international protection to people fleeing war, persecution and human rights violations.
A person may seek international protection by lodging an application for asylum. International protection means refugee status or subsidiary protection status. The Aliens Act lays down provisions on the grounds and procedures according to which international protection is granted.