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Tuesday, 07 July, 2020
Home NATIONALFamily reunification gets tougher
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Thu, 30 Jun, 2016 02:29:58 AM
President approves amended Alien Act
FTimes Report, June 30
 
File Photo Lehtikuva.
President Sauli Niinistö on Wednesday approved the amended Alien Act which tightens the criteria for family reunification for the immigrants, which will enter into force from June 1, said an official press release.
 
Earlier, parliament on June 22 passed the amendment to the law.
 
According to the law, the family reunification criteria will be tightened to comply with the EU directive. 
 
In the future, to exercise their right to family reunification, beneficiaries of international or temporary protection will be required to prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence. 
 
Those applying for international protection may be granted, for example, asylum or a residence permit on the basis of subsidiary protection. 
 
Under the Aliens Act, as a rule, issuing a residence permit requires that the applicant has secure means of subsistence. However, family members of beneficiaries of international protection have been an exception. This exception will no longer apply from July 1.
 
In practice, this means in future the requirement to have sufficient means of subsistence will also apply to the beneficiaries of international or temporary protection, i.e. the family established before the sponsor’s arrival in Finland. 
 
Under the current act, the sponsor has been required to provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence in cases where family reunification has been applied for a family established after the sponsor has come to the country.
 
An exemption may be made from the requirement to have sufficient means of subsistence, if there are exceptionally weighty reasons for such an exemption or if the exemption is in the best interest of the child.
 
Those granted asylum may apply for family reunification within three months without proof of sufficient means of subsistence.
 
In the future, family members of those granted asylum may apply for family reunification within three months after the sponsor has received the asylum decision, and they are not required to provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence. The same will apply to refugees admitted under the quota.
 
The period of three months is laid down in the EU directive and all member states are bound by it. However, proof of sufficient means of subsistence will always be required for families of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. Subsidiary protection may be granted, if the requirements for granting asylum are not met, but the applicant would face in his or her home country or country of permanent residence a risk of death penalty, torture or other inhuman treatment, for example.
 
The act will set no euro amounts for sufficient means of subsistence, and no amendments have been proposed concerning the subsistence level. The approximate amounts in euro will be determined by the Finnish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
 
The amendments will come into force on July 1. They will not apply to family members of Finnish citizens. In addition, the requirement to have sufficient means of subsistence will not apply to cases where the sponsor has been granted asylum, or refugee status after being admitted under the refugee quota, before the entry into force of the act.
 
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