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Home NATIONALRefugee influx may double to 30,000
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Sat, 05 Sep, 2015 12:05:20 AM
Refugees flock to Tornio from Sweden
FTimes – STT Report, Sep 5

Interior Minister Petteri Orpo on Friday described the refugee situation as unusual and said the actual number of asylum seekers in the country might be double the estimated one.

 “What is clear is that the pressure on Finland is growing all the time. The new estimate is between 25,000 and 30,000; however, it may be less or more,” Orpo told the news agency STT.

The growing number of asylum seekers has seen the reception centres bulge and, at the same time, the processing of asylum applications has slowed down.

Esko Repo, director of the asylum unit at Finnish Immigration Service, said approximately 2,700 cases have so far been resolved from the beginning of this year. The processing time of a single case, according to Repo, takes on average 150 days.

The Immigration Service is currently engaged in the process of hiring additional workforce; however, the training of new employees takes time and, as a result, the backlog is set to pile in the future.

“Less than six months is the processing time, which is considered reasonable,” Repo said. This week has seen an exceptionally large number of asylum seekers arriving in Tornio from northern Sweden.

Up to 300 asylum seekers are reported to have been crossing the border to the Finnish side daily. Early estimates by the interior ministry put the number of expected arrivals at 15,000.

This earlier figure is substantially higher than the number of asylum seekers who arrived in the country in the past.

The chair of the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) parliamentary group, Sampo Terho said the Finnish immigration policy has to be re-evaluated on the basis of this new figure.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä did not comment on the matter on Friday.

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