Finnish Immigration Service develops asylum procedure
The Finnish Immigration Service has initiated a development project for its asylum procedure, based on co-funding from the European Refugee Fund. The primary aim is to speed up the processing of asylum applications, in line with one of the government programme’s immigration policy goals.
Shortened processing times will ease the situation of asylum seekers, since they will not need to await a decision over extended periods of uncertainty. At the same time, the overall costs of receiving asylum seekers will be reduced. This year, appropriations allocated for reception purposes were reduced by 23 million euros from the year before.
Following the example of the Swedish lean approach
In speeding up the processing of applications, Finland looked to the Swedish Migration Board, which has developed asylum decision-making based on a ‘lean procedural approach’. The lean approach is a management philosophy based on continuous development, where the focus may, for instance, be on eliminating overlapping functions and extended waiting periods, thereby speeding up the whole process. At the same time, more efficient use is made of resources and customer satisfaction is increased.
When developing the processing of asylum applications, the aim is to eliminate any phases in which the application needlessly awaits completion of one step or another.
Operations developed in co-operation between authorities
The primary objective of the project is to increase the number of asylum decisions in proportion to man years. In addition to the Finnish Immigration Service, authorities participating in asylum application processing include the police and the Finnish Border Guard and, at the appeal phase, the administrative courts. For this reason, procedures are being developed in co-operation with all parties involved.
The objective is to harmonise the procedures of various authorities in a manner that would benefit them all. Part of the lean approach involves the process being perceived as a single entity, with everyone involved knowing what the other parties are doing. If each authority focuses on its own field only, they will not know how to operate in a manner that serves the next phase.
In addition to developing operations in the domestic field, international co-operation will also be developed. The government programme states that Finland will participate actively in the establishment of a joint EU asylum and immigration policy. The Government also aims to promote closer Nordic co-operation on immigration matters.
During 2012, the Finnish Immigration Service will organise training and meetings on the subject, for stakeholder authorities.
Further information for the media
Pekka Martin, Project Manager, Asylum Unit,
tel. +358 71 873 0431, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org