Ministry of the Interior launches independent survey of asylum procedure
The Ministry of the Interior began a survey concerning the asylum procedure on 30 November. The project will begin with a tendering process to select a party to carry out the survey. The purpose of the independent survey is to identify development needs concerning the asylum procedure, examine the cooperation between different authorities and assess the practices of the administrative courts for dealing with asylum-related issues. The objective is to determine how the asylum procedure could be streamlined and shortened and how the quality of the procedure could be improved in the future, while also better safeguarding the legal protection of asylum seekers.
The asylum procedure and the authorities involved have been criticised in the public discourse. The survey aims to support the public discussion by providing evidence-based data on the asylum procedure as a whole. The survey, examining the entire procedure and all authorities involved, will be the first of its kind.
“Decisions on granting asylum are based on careful criteria and deliberations. Courts also exercise their right to resubmit decisions for further consideration if they observe deficiencies based on appeals. That said, in a state governed by the rule of law, work should constantly be done to improve legal certainty, including when it comes to asylum seekers. The year 2015 saw the start of an entirely exceptional period in terms of the number of applications for asylum. It is wise to ensure that these experiences are analysed and put to use,” Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen explains.
Survey to examine the asylum procedure from start to finish
Rather than focusing on a single authority or aspect of the asylum procedure, the survey now being initiated aims to examine the entire procedure, from submitting an application for asylum to settling in a municipality or, in the case of a negative decision, returning to one’s country of origin. The survey will also consider the practices of the administrative courts when dealing with asylum matters, as well as the returns of those who receive a negative decision, which are the responsibility of the police. The survey will focus on ways to ensure a smooth and fair asylum-seeking procedure from the perspective of the asylum seeker.
The broader the scope of the survey, the more different authorities will benefit from it. The objective of the survey is to prepare recommendations for developing the different stages of the asylum procedure.
“It is important to shift our glance from the rear-view mirror to the future: how can we work better moving forward? By demonstrating evidence-based information and using it as the basis for developing operations, we can also strengthen people’s trust in authorities, the asylum-seeking procedure and the Finnish legal system,” Minister Mykkänen comments.
The survey will also evaluate what needs to be taken into account if there are changes to the migration situation, which aspects of the procedure are most critical for the legal protection of the asylum seeker and how quality assessment is carried out at the different stages of the procedure.
The tendering process is set to be completed in December, at which time a research body will be selected to conduct the survey. The goal is to have the survey and development recommendations ready in the summer of 2019.
Several development measures underway
The Finnish Immigration Service released an analysis of the functionality of the asylum system in June 2018. The analysis identified 28 development measures currently being implemented by the Finnish Immigration Service.
The Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities programme is also conducting a survey on the legal aid available to asylum seekers. The interim report on the survey, which is headed by the Ministry of Justice, will be published at the end of the year.
Jorma Vuorio, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 600, firstname.lastname@example.org
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 50 513 1539, email@example.com (requests for interviews with Minister Mykkänen)
Harri Martikainen, Director of Strategic Steering and Development, tel. +358 295 488 512, firstname.lastname@example.org