Finnish Immigration Service encourages women and girls to handle their own permit matters

20.11.2017 15.17
Press release

The Finnish Immigration Service is launching a campaign to encourage women and girls to independently take care of their own permit matters with the authorities.

The campaign is a part of the 100 Acts for Gender Equality project included in the official programme of the centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017. Among the customers of the Finnish Immigration Service, the man of the family often handles the matters of the entire family, female family members included. This is not a new phenomenon: the Finnish Immigration Service has a long history of encouraging women and girls to handle their own matters. In order to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence, it has now decided to highlight the issue.

– In families with many children, the mothers are quite often unable to learn Finnish well enough to take care of their personal matters in Finnish. They may not know English either. The men of the families learn languages instead. This is where the root of the problem often lies,” says Aino Likitalo, Head of Press and Communications Services.

It is justifiable for any applicant to need help every now and then, for example if his or her language skills are insufficient. The Finnish Immigration Service wants to involve women and girls as much as possible in the investigation of their personal matters, even if this only succeeds partially. If a woman is unable to take care of her matter because she lacks the necessary language skills, questions are still addressed to her, for example.

Another person may handle her matter if this person can be reliably identified on the phone and his or her right to access the woman’s information can be verified.

Why is it important that women and girls handle their own matters?

From the viewpoint of decision-making, it is essential for the Finnish Immigration Service to gather all the necessary information in order to process applications. As applications are personal, it is important that women and girls are given the opportunity to answer questions that concern them personally. This reduces the need to request further clarification afterwards, which in turn speeds up the processing of applications.

– Matters involving residence permits, citizenship and asylum are delicate and often the most important decisions in an applicant’s life. The Finnish Immigration Service is well aware of this, and we carry out our duties responsibly and reliably. One part is to ensure that the applicant gets heard in person.

When a phone call is made, women and girls are asked to come to the phone when their personal matter is discussed.

– The women may turn out to have quite good language skills, making it is easier to handle the matter. When a woman gathers the courage to speak, it also improves her language skills.

The campaign also highlights the fact that in Finland, women and men are equal. Women are allowed and even expected to talk for themselves.

Women’s independence always encouraged by customer service personnel

During the campaign, we will pay special attention to encouraging women and girls in all customer interactions. Our personnel will also internally share tried and tested practical tips on how to encourage women and girls to take care of their personal matters.

Our customers will encounter this campaign when they are in contact with us in the autumn. We will also put up illustrated instructions at all of our service points to make it easier to discuss the topic with our customers, both during and after the campaign.

Further information for the media:

Press and Communications Services, Finnish Immigration Service, tel. +358 295 433 037, [email protected]

Press release