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Home NATIONALOmbudsman to oversee deportation of asylum seekers
Tue, 31 Dec, 2013 04:16:12 AM
FTimes-STT Report, December 31
File picture of the Ombudsman for Minorities, Eva Biaudet. Photo - Lehtikuva.
The ombudsman for minorities, who is responsible for monitoring activities to ensure legal protection and advancement of the status of the ethnic minorities in the country, will now also oversee the deportation process of the asylum seekers.
The ombudsman has been empowered to monitor the deportation process after denial of the applications of asylum seekers following amendment of a law related to the immigration of refugees and asylum seekers, which came into effect from Monday.
Prior to the amendment, there was no particular body to supervise the process to deport the asylum seekers who were given a negative decision and the enforcement of deportation was done by the police.
The amendment of the law also included some provisions to improve the deportation process of the asylum seekers.
Immigration sources said a total of 2,362 people were forced to deport the country in 2012.
Earlier on December 17, the government also prepared a draft law with the view to encourage quick and willing return of the people, who were denied asylum in Finland.   
The Ministry of Interior finalised the draft, which is expected to be placed before the parliament for enactment in spring, ministry sources said.
The draft law proposed that an asylum seeker who has been denied refugee status or whose application has been cancelled would be eligible to get reasonable travel expenses and assistance, if one decides to leave the country willingly.
The bill also pointed out that the asylum seeker, whose application would be rejected, would not be entitled to the assistances if the applicant refused to leave the country at the first stage of denial and look for alternative measures.
The Department of Immigration in mid-June this year said the number of asylum seekers increased significantly in the country during the first six months of 2013.
A total of 1,480 foreigners sought asylum in Finland from January to June and the number was 16% higher compared to the number of the stipulated period in 2012.
The Department of Immigration estimates that the total number would be about 3,400 at the end of the year.
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