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Home NATIONALAnti-immigration agenda to affect multicultural marriage
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Tue, 16 Feb, 2016 12:02:17 AM
Family reunification bill draws massive criticism
FTimes - Xinhua - STT Report, Feb 16
 
Immigration office. File Photo Lehtikuva.
The government is drafting stricter policies on family reunification, a move that is expected to control migrant influx but has also aroused concern among Finnish nationals who married a spouse of non-EU origin, reported the news agency Xinhua.
 
A Finn who wants to bring a non-EU spouse into the country should have a monthly net income of at least 1,700 euros.
 
A family of four would need an income of at least of 2,600 euros. Required income is not necessarily salary but can also comprise wealth, pension or capital gains revenue, according to the new policies.
 
The policies, which are currently being discussed by civic organisations and administrative units, are expected to take effect by the middle of the year.
 
Analysts believe the new measures would bring “collateral damage” on multicultural relationships.  
 
File Photo Lehtikuva.
The new laws would concern, for example, returning specialists who have worked abroad and got married there. Popular non-EU countries as origins of spouses for Finnish nationals include Russia, Thailand and the United States.
 
News agency STT adds: The chairman of the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) parliamentary group, Arto Satonen believes the income thresholds for family reunification should not apply to Finnish citizens.
 
Satonen told the national broadcaster YLE television’s morning news programme that he had discussed the matter with Interior Minister Petteri Orpo.
 
An amendment to the law on family reunification is currently being circulated for comments.
 
“I want to very carefully evaluate this situation even after the comments are made. Personally, I think that this threshold should not touch Finnish citizens,” Satonen said.
 
Chairman of the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) parliamentary group Arto Satonen. File Photo Lehtikuva.
The tightened condition for household income do not apply to asylum seekers who are part of Finland’s quota or those who apply for family reunification within three months of gaining residence permit.
 
The UN children’s organisation UNICEF has criticised the income requirement, saying it doesn’t comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as children of low-income parents might have to live without one or both of their parents, but wealthier parents are bestowed reunification.
 
According to Amnesty International, the income requirements would be difficult for many Finns, but even more difficult for people benefiting from international protection.
 
The Federation of University Students in Finland (SYL) pointed out that, in its current form, the amendment would prevent low-income students from bringing their spouses to live in Finland and would also prevent educated couples or families from temporarily living in Finland.
 
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