Project seeks solutions to address the situation of those without a right of stay in the country
On 24 May, the Ministry of the Interior set up a project to carry out a study on a legislative amendment that would enable the granting of a temporary residence permit and an alien’s passport for a limited period to asylum seekers who have received a negative decision but who have found work. The purpose of the amendment would be to allow a person to travel to obtain a travel document from the authorities of their own country. In addition, the project will explore possible solutions to the situation of people who have resided in Finland for a long time without a right of stay.
The project is based on the Action Plan for the Prevention of Irregular Entry and Stay published earlier in May. In line with the Government Programme, the Action Plan was updated for the period 2021–2024. The Action Plan includes a total of 52 actions, 10 of which focus on those without a right of stay in the country.
“Two of the actions will be implemented through the studies that will now be conducted. This is one part of a broad package aimed at preventing social exclusion and the emergence of a parallel society,” says Jutta Gras, Senior Ministerial Adviser.
An alien’s passport would help to obtain a national passport for a work-based permit
In the Government Programme, the Government undertakes to further develop legislation and practices to provide more flexible opportunities to secure a residence permit based on employment for those whose applications have been refused but who have found work. This means that a person who is integrated and has found work in Finland could obtain a residence permit for an employed person more flexibly, even though he or she has not been considered to be in need of protection.
“The basic requirement for obtaining a residence permit is that a person can prove his or her identity with a reliable travel document. In some cases, an obstacle to obtaining a work-based permit has been that the applicant has not been able to present a valid travel document. It may be difficult to obtain a document if the person's home country does not have a diplomatic or consular mission in Finland,” says Kukka Krüger, Chief Specialist.
The project to be launched will examine whether a temporary residence permit and an alien’s passport could be obtained in such a case, provided that all other conditions for a residence permit are met. In this case, a person could continue to work in Finland with a residence permit for an employed person and, with an alien’s passport, to travel to obtain a national passport of his or her own country.
Complementary solutions aim to reduce risks posed to society and to those without a right of stay in the country
Another study to be carried out in the project concerns possible solutions to the situation of people who have been in Finland for a long time without a right of stay.
The starting point is that a person without a right of stay in Finland leaves the country, primarily on a voluntary basis. In line with the Government Programme, the system of assisted voluntary return will be developed. In addition, Finland promotes cooperation in forced return and, more broadly, in return and migration matters with key countries. The work is carried out with the support of the EU and in cooperation with other EU Member States.
Cooperation with the countries of origin of those to be returned does not always work as desired. Therefore, complementary solutions are also needed for the situation of those who have been in the country for a long time without a right of stay.
“The aim now is to determine the conditions under which it would be justified to legalise the stay of these persons in Finland and to explore how this would be done. We will seek possible solutions from other EU countries and, above all, from the Nordic countries,” says Jutta Gras.
The goal of the development of returns and complementary solutions is to reduce the risks that living without a right of stay poses to individuals themselves and to society.
Further measures will be decided after completion of the studies
The Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior is preparing the project in close cooperation with the Police Department, the Finnish Immigration Service and the National Police Board. In addition, other key authorities, experts and relevant parties, such as NGOs, will be consulted in the project.
The project will take into account the recommendations of a study, carried out as part of the Government's analysis, assessment and research activities, which deals with the possibility of granting a residence permit to persons without a residence permit on grounds other than international protection and proposes that the conditions for issuing an alien’s passport be reviewed. A study completed in February 2021 examined the combined effects of the amendments made to the Aliens Act and the practices of applying the Act with regard to the status of those requesting and receiving international protection.
In addition, the project will make use of the comparative study carried out by the European Migration Network on the challenges and practices of the EU Member States concerning those without a right of stay in the country. The study is scheduled to be completed in summer 2021.
The studies to be conducted in the project will be finished in autumn 2021. Further preparation will be decided on the basis of these studies. The project will continue until the end of 2022.