Hearing of a co-applicant under the age of 18
Under law, the Finnish Immigration Service has an obligation to hear all children 12 years of age or older who apply for asylum in Finland together with their family. Sometimes the hearing of the child may be deemed clearly unnecessary. In that case, the child does not need to be heard.
The Finnish Immigration Service can also hear a younger child. Hearing a child under the age of 12 may be necessary so that the Finnish Immigration Service can secure the realisation of the child’s best interest. The hearing of a younger child is possible if the child is sufficiently mature to have his or her views taken into account.
Children are always interviewed in accordance with their age and maturity.
The Finnish Immigration Service hears all children 11 years of age and older
When arranging an interview with a family, we invite to the hearing all children 11 years of age or older applying together with the family. This is done so that
- we can make sure that the child’s best interest will be realised, and
- the processing of the family’s applications will not be delayed in case a child turns 12 before the family receives a decision.
We also hear children between 4 and 10 years of age, if it is deemed necessary. Hearing a child below the age of 12 can be necessary, for example, when the family’s grounds for asylum are specifically connected with the child.
Children are heard only in matters related to themselves
We give all children applying for asylum together with their family the possibility to tell about their matters themselves, if they want to. The child’s statement is taken into account in the decision-making, in accordance with the child’s age and maturity. The purpose of a child’s hearing is not to investigate the credibility of the parents’ or guardians’ statements.
We will not interview the child if he or she does not want to be heard. The child’s refusal to be interviewed does not influence the decision on the application.
The hearing of the child and the child’s parent or guardian is usually arranged on the same day
We will send the child an invitation to a hearing. The child’s parent or guardian is also asked to be present at the hearing. The child is also heard briefly without the presence of the parent or guardian.
In the hearing, children are heard about
- their worries and fears,
- violations of their rights,
- and other issues that are relevant to the asylum application.
The asylum interview instructions for co-applicants under the age of 18 can be found here: migri.fi/asyluminterview.
You can request the Finnish Immigration Service to hear a child
The Finnish Immigration Service does not always have all information about the reasons why a child below the age of 11 should be heard.
For example the following persons can ask for a hearing of the child:
- the child
- the child’s parents or guardians
- the child’s counsel or attorney.
How can the child’s parents or guardians request for a hearing?
If you are a parent or guardian participating in a hearing at the Finnish Immigration Service, you will be asked if you want your child to be heard.
In other cases, you can request the Finnish Immigration Service to hear your child. Send the request as an encrypted email message to the address email@example.com. You can send encrypted email using the service securemail.migri.fi.
You can ask the following persons to help you send the request:
- your counsel
- a social worker at the reception centre
- a public health nurse at the reception centre.