At the moment about every second asylum application is a subsequent application
About 2,300 persons have applied for asylum this year. About 1,100 of the applications are from applicants who have previously received at least one asylum decision. This year by the end of July, the largest number of subsequent applications was submitted by Iraqis (about 710 applications), who are the largest group of asylum seekers in Finland.
A subsequent application is an application for international protection that a person submits after having received a final decision on an earlier application. The number of asylum applications that a person can submit is not limited by legislation.
In practice, the application has to contain new grounds for international protection that will influence the decision. Otherwise a new asylum interview at the Finnish Immigration Service will not be arranged. If there are no new grounds, the application is processed in an accelerated procedure.
This year, 15 per cent of the decisions on subsequent applications have been positive, and 32 per cent have been negative. In 47 per cent, the application has been dismissed in the preliminary investigation. This means that the applications have not contained new grounds that would influence the decision. Expired applications amounted to 6 per cent.
Subsequent applications are not a new phenomenon in themselves. In 2017, nearly 1,800 persons out of 5,000 asylum applicants had already received a decision at least once.
Reasons for subsequent applications vary
The Finnish Immigration Service does not keep statistics on the grounds that are given in the subsequent applications. The agency estimates that a common reason for submitting a new application after the first application process is that the applicant has presented new grounds or new information that has not come up earlier. This is also the most common reason for a matter to be returned during the appeal process back to the Finnish Immigration Service for processing.
The new grounds that are given are most often that the applicant has converted to Christianity while in Finland or that the applicant belongs to a sexual or gender minority.
Another new ground is that the situation in the applicant's home country has changed since the previous decision was made. Sometimes the applicants plead that a previous decision has been faulty, even after the application has first been processed by the Finnish Immigration Service and then tried in both courts.
All subsequent applications get a preliminary investigation
The Finnish Immigration Service conducts a preliminary investigation for all subsequent applications in order to find out whether the applicant has new grounds or evidence. This investigation is conducted on the basis of the additional information and clarifications that the applicant has presented when submitting the new application at a police service point.
A new asylum interview will only be arranged if the application contains new grounds or evidence influencing the decision. If there is no such evidence, the application is dismissed.
In July, the Ministry of the Interior appointed a legislative project investigating possible amendments to the processing of subsequent applications. Efforts are made to specify the procedure concerning subsequent applications by asylum seekers, so that applying for the purpose of delaying the matter is prevented, in particular after a third application.
Further information for the media
Esko Repo, Director of Asylum Unit, tel. +358 295 430 431, email: firstname.lastname@example.org