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Amendments to Border Guard Act help prepare for incidents

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 8.7.2022 10.48
Press release

In future, the reception of asylum applications can be centralised at separately designated border crossing points at Finland’s national border. Amendments to the Border Guard Act help prepare for hybrid influence activities that exploit e.g. migration. The President of the Republic approved the amendments on 8 July. The act will enter into force on 15 July 2022.

The Government may decide on centralisation if it is necessary to prevent a serious threat to public order, national security or public health. Such situations may include an exceptionally high number of immigrants in a short period of time or instrumentalisation of migration by a state or some other party. 

Border security will also be improved with the possibility for building barriers and temporarily transferring property 

Supplementary provisions on building barriers in the border zone will also be added to the Border Guard Act. By building barriers, such as fences, the aim is to better prepare for various threats endangering border security. The regulation will also cover the construction of necessary trails and roads, removal of trees and other vegetation, and the necessary earthmoving and hydraulic works. 

In future, a permit will be needed to build buildings, fences and similar structures near the barriers if they can potentially hinder patrol and other operations of the Border Guard that are necessary for maintaining border security. In addition, a provision on the temporary transfer of property and the provision of services to the Border Guard in return for compensation will be added to the Border Guard Act.

Finland is preparing for hybrid influence activities in the short and long term

Finland will strengthen its border security through other legislative amendments as well. The updated Emergency Powers Act, prepared by the Ministry of Justice, will enter into force at the same time as the amendments to the Border Guard Act. The amendments will update the Emergency Powers Act to prepare for different hybrid threats.

Parliament is currently discussing an amendment to the Aliens Act concerning the border procedure. The border procedure would allow the processing of potentially unfounded asylum applications immediately at or near the border. This would prevent asylum applicants from travelling within Finland or from Finland to other EU countries. 

The Government report on changes in the security environment states that as the security environment changes, Finland has to prepare for becoming a target of exceptional, extensive and multifaceted hybrid influence activities in the short and long term. Clear legislation and sufficient powers of the authorities to act proactively and during incidents enable us to prepare for hybrid influence activities that instrumentalise migration.

Inquiries:

Anne Ihanus, Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, tel. +358 295 421 608, [email protected]
Sanna Palo, Chief of Legal Division, tel. +358 295 421 601, [email protected] (as of 12 July)