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Reform of the Aliens Act to be launched with a preliminary study

Ministry of the Interior
28.10.2021 12.05 | Published in English on 28.10.2021 at 14.33
Press release 132/2021

The Ministry of the Interior has set up a project to conduct a preliminary study concerning the needs for amendments in the Aliens Act and how the reform should implemented.

The preliminary study will comprise an assessment of the current structure and content of the Aliens Act and identification of the development needs arising from the changes in the case law and operating environment. The key factors influencing the operating environment include technological advances such as the introduction of digital services and biometric identifiers.

The preliminary study will serve as the basis for drawing up a plan for the reform. The plan will give a proposal on the future structure of the Aliens Act and how the reform will be implemented, and estimate the necessary staff resources and timetable.

The actual work on the reform will be started as a separate project during the next government term. The reform of the Aliens Act will be included as an objective in the next Government Programme. 

Project collects views on the usability of the Aliens Act

The preliminary study will be conducted by the Migration Department. The study will also be based on information from comparative research on the structure of the legislation on aliens in different EU countries. As far as necessary and possible, use will be made of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities and studies conducted outside the Government. 

The authorities applying the Act and other experts and stakeholders will be consulted with a particular focus on the usability and effectiveness of the Act. At the same time there is another project under way at the Ministry of the Interior to determine the long-term objectives for Finland’s comprehensive migration policy. 

A cross-administrative monitoring group will be appointed for the preliminary study project. Members from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finnish Immigration Service, Judiciary, Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman and scientific community will be invited to the group. The term of the project ends on 31 March 2023.

Amendments have made the Act confusing

The Aliens Act contains provisions concerning e.g. the conditions for entry to and stay in the country, travel documents, international protection and legal protection. Now separate acts have been issued on certain types of permits, but the general conditions for these permits are still laid down in the Aliens Act.

The current Aliens Act entered into force in 2004. The extensive Act contains approximately 300 sections and more than 1,000 provisions. The Act has been amended about 90 times since its entry into force. More than 20 EU Directives have been implemented by provisions of the Aliens Act. 

The structure of the Act has suffered from the large number of amendments and it has become confusing and difficult to understand. The Aliens Act is a migration policy instrument that helps to support the objectives of a clear, consistent and comprehensive migration policy. The Government made the decision on the preliminary study in the spending limits discussion in May 2021. 

Inquiries:

Minna Hulkkonen, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 600, [email protected] 
Jutta Gras, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 650, [email protected]