Legislative project investigates possible changes to processing of subsequent applications
A project appointed by the Ministry of the Interior on 3 July will investigate and draft possible amendments to the Aliens Act concerning the processing of subsequent applications for international protection and the implementation of the Finnish Immigration Service’s decisions enabled by the EU Asylum Procedures Directive. In connection with this project, an amendment required by the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be made to the Aliens Act. Under this amendment, the base date for assessing a refugee’s age in family reunification cases should be the date on which the application for international protection was submitted.
"Determination of the age of an asylum seeking child will be clarified so that the best interest of the child is reasonably ensured also in family reunification. At the same time, efforts are made to specify the procedure concerning subsequent applications by asylum seekers, so that objective grounds are examined but misuse for the purpose of delaying the matter is prevented, in particular after a third application," Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen says.
The Asylum Procedures Directive contains provisions on the procedures followed when making decisions on subsequent applications and the applicant’s right to remain in the Member State after submitting their subsequent application. A subsequent application refers to an application for international protection that a foreign national makes after receiving a final decision on a previous application submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service or an administrative court.
Finland has not previously included in the Aliens Act all the Directive’s provisions on the examination of a subsequent application or the possibilities of making an exception to the right to remain in the Member State in connection with subsequent applications.
The project will also investigate possibilities of amending sections of the Aliens Act concerning taking possession of travel documents.
New grounds should be brought up as early as possible
For the asylum process as well as for the applicant, it is particularly important that any new grounds on which the application is based are mentioned at the time of its submission. Under the valid legislation, if the applicant has not provided new grounds for remaining in the country that have a bearing on the decision-making in the matter in their subsequent application, its contents will not be examined, and pursuant to the Aliens Act, the application will be excluded from examination. There will thus also be no grounds for the person to remain in the country, and depending on the case, a decision to refuse entry will be issued to the applicant, or an earlier final decision may be implemented.
This does not mean, however, that the subsequent application would not be examined. When a subsequent application is submitted, it is always examined for any new grounds or evidence that might affect the decision. If such are provided, the Finnish Immigration Service will process the application following the expedited or normal procedure.
A strong increase in the number of subsequent applications
The Finnish Immigration Service’s statistics for 2017 and the early part of 2018 clearly show a strong growth in the total number of subsequent applications for international protection and in their proportion of all applications for international protection submitted in Finland. Many applicants have already submitted several subsequent applications, and this number is growing constantly.
The objective is that the amendments will be adopted during this government term.
Kukka Kruger, Chief Specialist, tel. +359 295 488 270, [email protected]