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Home NATIONALCriteria to tighten for Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis
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Wed, 18 May, 2016 12:09:15 AM
Finland declares three key refugee countries "safe to return"
FTimes-Xinhua Report, May 18

Chances of getting a residence permit in Finland on refugee basis looked even slimmer on Tuesday as Finland upgraded Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia as "safe to return."

Before the latest assessment, specific areas within these countries were considered risky. The assessment may change again when the next appraisal is to be done in late 2016.

The program of the current three-party coalition government includes a requirement that the situation in the main countries of origin of asylum seekers will be assessed once every six months.

The view that conditions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia have improved means that asylum seekers from those countries must have special personal reasons for getting residence in Finland, an official at the Migration Authority told Xinhua.

 

The dangerous situation must concern them personally, as the countries as such are no longer considered to be dangerous, said the official.

 The overall prerequisites of granting residence permits on an asylum basis also became tougher this week, as a specific system of "humanitarian protection" was deleted from Finnish legislation.

 The amended version of the Finnish Aliens' Act allows residence permits based on international protection only as asylum and secondary protection.

Before the amendment, a foreigner was able to gain residence rights in Finland under "humanitarian protection" even if the criteria for asylum or secondary protection could not be met. The new rules will affect the processing of current applications.

New rules are used for decisions to be taken from now on, and the change does not affect the permits retroactively.

However, when a person later renews his or her application, new criteria will have to be met. Thus, a person who has been given the residence rights under "humanitarian protection" must be eligible in another category or leave the country.

In an application to continue residence in Finland, a person who was originally a refugee may also be eligible for residence on the basis of employment, studies, operation of a business in Finland or a human relationship in Finland. 

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