Statistics on asylum applications can be found in the statistical service of the Finnish Immigration Service at statistics.migri.fi.
A person may be granted asylum in Finland if he or she has a well-founded fear of being perse-cuted in his or her home country or country of permanent residence for reasons of:
membership in a particular social group; or
Another requirement is that the asylum seeker cannot rely on the protection of the authorities of his or her home country or country of permanent residence because of this fear. The criteria for asylum are defined in detail in Finnish law and the international treaties that Finland has adopted.
Anyone. However, if the asylum seeker comes from a safe country of origin, the application may be processed in an accelerated procedure.
The number of asylum applications that a person can submit is not limited in any way. If a person submits a new asylum application after having received a final decision on an earlier asylum ap-plication, the new application is referred to as a subsequent application.
However, a subsequent application may be dismissed after a preliminary investigation if it does not contain any new grounds for asylum. In this case, the application will not be examined in sub-stance.
An application for asylum can only be submitted in Finland. When an asylum seeker arrives in Finland, he or she informs the border control authorities or the police that he or she wants to apply for asylum.
The border control authorities or the police register the person as an asylum seeker, record his or her personal details and take his or her fingerprints, signature and photograph. These are called biometric identifiers. The authorities also make the necessary register checks.
After this, the asylum application is transferred to the Finnish Immigration Service for processing.
Yes. If you are an asylum seeker and apply for some other residence permit at the same time, your applications are processed separately at the Finnish Immigration Service. When you receive a decision on one of your applications, the processing of your other application will continue normally at the Finnish Immigration Service.
An asylum seeker cannot be granted a residence permit for studies, research, internship or volun-tary work. These types of residence permits are regulated under a separate act, and asylum seekers have been excluded from the scope of that act. However, an asylum seeker may study during the processing of the asylum application. If the asylum decision is positive, the applicant can continue studying. If the asylum decision is negative, the applicant can apply for a residence permit for studies.
If there are grounds for granting a person asylum, in other words refugee status, it cannot be re-fused even if he or she has committed a serious crime in Finland. This is laid down in the Geneva Refugee Convention and in the Finnish Aliens Act.
Asylum is not granted if the asylum seeker has committed, or if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that he or she has committed, a war crime, crime against humanity or crime against peace before arriving in Finland. Asylum is also refused if the asylum seeker has committed a serious non-political crime outside Finland.
Even a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection may be refused if the asylum seeker has committed a crime. In this case, also a serious crime committed in Finland after entry into the country is a sufficient ground for refusal.
However, even persons who have committed a serious crime cannot be removed from the coun-try if they in their home country face a risk of being subjected to the death penalty, torture, perse-cution or other inhuman or degrading treatment. This non-refoulement principle is based on the Finnish constitution, the Finnish Aliens Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Finnish Immigration Service always respects the principle of non-refoulement.
If an asylum seeker has committed crimes and there are no grounds for granting international protection, he or she will receive a negative asylum decision that includes a decision on refusal of entry.
No. If an asylum seeker is suspected of committing a crime and his or her application is still being processed, the criminal investigation is conducted separately from the processing of the asylum application. The asylum application of a person who has committed a crime may be processed in an accelerated procedure.
The police are responsible for investigating the crime and informing about the matter.
The asylum interview is the most important stage in establishing the grounds for asylum. During the interview, asylum seekers can explain in their own words why they need international protection.
The asylum interview is held in the premises of the Finnish Immigration Service as soon as pos-sible after the asylum application has been submitted.
The asylum seeker, an interpreter and a Senior Adviser from the Finnish Immigration Service par-ticipate in the asylum interview. The interview may also be attended by the asylum seeker’s counsel, a guardian or representative of a minor asylum seeker and, if necessary, also some other person at the discretion of the interviewer.
During the asylum interview, the asylum seeker can freely explain why he or she needs interna-tional protection. If necessary, the interviewer will direct the asylum seeker to talk about issues that are relevant to the asylum matter and ask clarifying questions. The asylum interview is the most important stage in establishing the grounds for asylum.
If possible, the asylum interview is held in the asylum seeker’s native language.
The duration of the asylum interview depends completely on the case. For the first interview, the Finnish Immigration Service reserves as much time as it is anticipated to take. If the given time proves to be too short, the asylum interview is continued at a later date. In addition, a separate appointment can be made for going through the written record, if there is not enough time for go-ing through it at the interview.
The Finnish Immigration Service arranges for an interpreter to be present at the asylum interview. The interpreters work for companies chosen by tender to provide the services.
The quality of interpretation is monitored during the asylum interview. When the interview begins, the interviewer asks the asylum seeker if he or she understands the interpreter. At the end of the interview, the interviewer confirms this once more by asking if the asylum seeker has understood the interpreter. At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer also requests the asylum seeker to let the interviewer know if at some point of the interview the applicant does not understand the interpreter or does not understand a question. In addition to this, the interviewer may check during the interview that the asylum seeker and the interpreter understand each other.
The interviewer always goes through the written record of the asylum interview together with the asylum seeker at the end of the interview. It is also possible to make a separate appointment for this.
A new asylum interview is arranged with another interpreter.
The Finnish Immigration Service continuously reviews the legality and quality of asylum decisions and asylum interviews, and any shortcomings identified in the review are addressed immediately.
In accordance with the agency's legality control plan, every Senior Adviser undergoes quality con-trol by having a supervisor attend some of their asylum interviews, being present from start to finish. Every Senior Adviser’s asylum interviews are monitored at least once every year. If neces-sary, interviews are monitored more frequently.
All public officials who conduct asylum interviews receive training in the form of several training modules prepared by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) of the European Union. The training modules cover subjects such as evidence assessment, determining refugee status and interview techniques. Especially in the training concerning the asylum interview, the contact teaching days include a lot of practice in interactional situations. Identifying a person in a vulnera-ble position is a core part of the interview training.
Besides the basic training that all interviewers receive, those who conduct interviews with vulner-able groups complete the EASO training module ‘Interviewing Vulnerable Persons’. There are also separate training modules on subjects such as interviewing children, gender and sexual orientation, and trafficking in human beings.
An asylum seeker who is under 18 years of age and arrived in Finland alone always has a repre-sentative present at the asylum interview. In addition, a counsel (a lawyer or a social worker from the reception centre) may also be present at the interview.
Processing of asylum applications
Asylum decisions are made by public officials of the Finnish Immigration Service. As a rule, asy-lum decisions are made applying the presentation procedure. This means that a preparing officer presents a decision to his or her senior colleague, who then reviews the decision.
An asylum seeker’s age is primarily determined on the basis of documents and by interviewing the applicant. If an asylum seeker has no documents, the age is registered according to the applicant’s own statement.
If there are reasonable grounds for suspecting the reliability of the information an asylum seeker has given on his or her age, a medical age assessment may be carried out to establish the appli-cant’s age.
Medical age assessments are performed at the request of the Finnish Immigration Service. An assessment is requested only when there are reasonable grounds for doubting the age of an asy-lum seeker who has presented himself or herself as a minor. For example the applicant’s appear-ance, information concerning the applicant obtained from another country, or contradictions in the applicant’s own statements may give reason to doubt the age of an asylum seeker.
An age assessment can be performed only if the asylum seeker and his or her guardian or other legal representative have given their written consents to performing the assessment. An asylum seeker who refuses to undergo the assessment without an acceptable reason will be treated as an adult. However, refusal alone is not a ground for rejecting an application for asylum.
The grounds for granting the person international protection are assessed just as in all other cases.
Medical age assessments can be performed at the request of the Finnish Immigration Service by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
At present, the age assessment includes a preliminary interview as well as an X-ray examination of the teeth and wrist bones. On the basis of these, two independent forensic dentists prepare a common statement on the matter.
An age assessment does not give the exact age of an asylum seeker, but the probabilities of him or her being a minor or an adult.
If an asylum seeker does not know his or her date of birth, the Finnish Immigration Service estab-lishes an estimation of his or her age with precision of date, month and year of birth. The estima-tion is based on what the asylum seeker has been able to tell about his or her date of birth, the conclusions of the medical age assessment, and any other proof presented in the matter.
An application for international protection may be processed in an accelerated procedure if the Finnish Immigration Service considers it to be manifestly unfounded.
A preliminary investigation is conducted on every asylum application. If the preliminary investiga-tion shows that there are no grounds for examining it in substance, the application is dismissed.
The processing times of asylum applications vary from application to application. The Finnish Immigration Service seeks to process asylum applications submitted after 20 July 2018 within six months of submission.
An asylum seeker waits for the asylum decision at a reception centre. Asylum seekers may also live in private accommodation or, for example, in the halls of residence of an educational institu-tion.
An asylum application may be dismissed in Finland in the following situations:
The asylum seeker has arrived from a safe country where he or she has been granted asylum or subsidiary protection or otherwise sufficient protection, and he or she may be returned to this country (safe country of asylum).
The asylum seeker has arrived from a safe country where he or she could have been granted asylum or subsidiary protection or otherwise sufficient protection, he or she has sufficient ties to this country, and he or she may be returned there (safe third country).
The asylum seeker can be sent to another country that is responsible for examining his or her asylum application in accordance with the Dublin Regulation (the Dublin procedure).
The asylum seeker has received international protection in another EU Member State.
The asylum seeker has submitted a subsequent application that does not contain any new grounds that would influence the decision on the matter.
Statistics on asylum decisions can be found in the statistical service of the Finnish Immigration Service at statistics.migri.fi.
An asylum seeker may be granted asylum in Finland if he or she has a well-founded fear of being persecuted in his or her home country or country of permanent residence for reasons of:
membership in a particular social group; or
Another requirement is that the asylum seeker cannot rely on the protection of the authorities of his or her home country or country of permanent residence because of this fear.
An asylum seeker who receives a positive decision is granted one of the following:
asylum (refugee status);
a residence permit on other grounds.
If the requirements for granting asylum are not met, the Finnish Immigration Service may grant the asylum seeker a residence permit based on subsidiary protection on the basis of the asylum application. This means that the asylum seeker is granted subsidiary protection status.
A residence permit based on subsidiary protection may be granted for the following reasons:
The asylum seeker faces a risk of the death penalty, execution, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in his or her home country or country of permanent residence.
The asylum seeker cannot return to his or her home country or country of permanent resi-dence without facing a serious and individual threat because of indiscriminate violence re-sulting from an armed conflict in that country.
Subsidiary protection is granted for four years. After this, the person needs an extended permit.
An asylum seeker is granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds if refusing a residence permit would be manifestly unreasonable with regard to the applicant’s health or ties to Finland, or on a discretionary basis on other humanitarian grounds. In this case, particular attention is paid to the circumstances the person would face in his or her home country or to the person’s vulnerable position.
A residence permit on humanitarian grounds is granted for a year.
Asylum is granted for four years, after which the asylum seeker needs an extended permit. The need for international protection is reassessed when the asylum seeker applies for an extended permit.
Statistics on asylum decisions can be found in the statistical service of the Finnish Immigration Service at statistics.migri.fi.
The asylum seeker is informed of the decision either by the Finnish Immigration Service or the police. The decision is served to the applicant in his or her native language or another language that the applicant has stated that he or she understands. An interpreter or a translator is used when serving the decision.
Yes. The asylum seeker may appeal the decision to an administrative court. If the administrative court rejects the appeal, the asylum seeker may lodge a further appeal at the Supreme Administrative Court, if the Supreme Administrative Court grants leave to appeal.
If the decision is not appealed, it becomes final when the appeal period expires.
A decision also becomes final in the following situations:
The asylum seeker has not applied to the Supreme Administrative Court for leave to appeal a decision made by an administrative court, and the appeal period (14 days) expires.
The Supreme Administrative Court decides not to grant the asylum seeker leave to appeal.
When a person receives a negative asylum decision, it is usually accompanied by a decision on refusal of entry. The person is usually given 30 days to leave Finland voluntarily or to apply for assisted voluntary return. If the person does not leave Finland within this time, the police will remove him or her from the country.
A person who has received a negative asylum decision is usually given 30 days to leave Finland voluntarily or to apply for assisted voluntary return. If the person does not leave Finland within this time, the police will remove him or her from the country.
No. However, the person may become undocumented if he or she does not leave the country or apply for assisted voluntary return within 30 days of receiving the decision.
The Finnish Immigration Service is continuously monitoring the quality of asylum decisions. At the Asylum Unit, the Legal and Support Services are responsible for quality control.
The legal certainty of decisions is ensured by analysing legal cases as well as by providing the Asylum Unit with instructions and continuous training. The Asylum Unit carries out regular random quality inspections where at least one decision from every preparing officer is inspected and assessed by several different criteria.
The Asylum Unit continuously reviews the legality and quality of asylum decisions and interviews, and any shortcomings identified in the review are addressed immediately. The Asylum Unit also employs consulting officers whose duties include examining and inspecting the decision-making practice in their own specialised area of responsibility.
Quality control and supervision are also improved with the help of EU-funded projects.
Furthermore, the legality of decisions is monitored by the administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court.
A subsequent application is an asylum application submitted by an asylum seeker who has already received a decision on at least one asylum application.
The number of subsequent applications is not limited by legislation.
The number of subsequent applications has been increasing. Statistics on subsequent applications can be found in the statistical service of the Finnish Immigration Service at statistics.migri.fi.
When an asylum seeker submits a subsequent application, the Finnish Immigration Service first conducts a preliminary investigation to find out whether the application contains new grounds for asylum or such new information that was not known when the previous decision was made. If the applicant has not presented any new grounds for asylum, the subsequent application is dismissed. If there are new grounds for asylum, a new substantial asylum investigation including a new asylum interview is conducted.
Yes. A decision on a subsequent application may be appealed to an administrative court. If the administrative court rejects the appeal, the asylum seeker may apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.
If an asylum seeker who has previously received a negative decision and a decision on refusal of entry in connection with it submits a first subsequent application before the removal from the country is enforced or during its enforcement, this will suspend the enforcement of the removal from the country and prevent the enforcement of the decision on refusal of entry.
If the first subsequent application is dismissed and at the same time a decision on refusal of entry is made, the applicant must apply for prohibition or stay of enforcement with an administrative court within seven days of being served with the decision. This period of seven days must contain at least five working days. The administrative court must make a decision on the application within seven days. Also this period of seven days must contain at least five working days. The applicant cannot be removed from the country before these time limits have expired, or if the administrative court decides to prohibit the enforcement of the decision. The removal from the country may be enforced once the time limits have expired, or if the administrative court decides not to prohibit or stay the enforcement of the decision.
If an asylum seeker who has received decision on the dismissal of a previous subsequent appli-cation and a decision on refusal of entry in connection with it submits a second subsequent appli-cation, this does not prevent the enforcement of the decision on refusal of entry once the decision is final.