Finland on Wednesday (Sep 30) temporarily froze its decisions on Iraqi and Somali asylum claims, to assess whether more applicants could be sent back home following a surge in arrivals from the two restive countries.
"The Finnish Immigration Service freezes its decision-making on Iraqi and Somali asylum claims for the time being. This is due to the ongoing assessment of the security situation in Iraq and Somalia," the service in charge of handling the applications said in a statement.vFinland has seen a dramatic rise in
the number of mostly Iraqi and Somali asylum seekers, and the
Immigration Service implied it planned to adopt a tougher line in the
assessment of their applications.
"Our preliminary data on, for
example, the decision practices in other EU states confirms our
impression that the guidelines are to be made stricter," it wrote. The
review could lead Finland to consider that security has improved enough
in southern and central Somalia and central parts of Iraq for them to be
considered safe places to live.
"Now it has already emerged that
asylum seekers who come from, for example, Baghdad and surrounding
regions and from Mogadishu are not granted protection automatically in
other EU countries," it justified.
The suspension of the asylum
decisions is expected to last some weeks. The agency said it was
necessary to assure "the pending applications from Iraqi and Somali
nationals can be treated equally and according to the same guidelines".
mid-September, Finland has stepped up migrant controls on its northern
border with Sweden, where most migrants cross into the country. Over
17,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Finland so far this year, a more
than fourfold increase on the 2014 tally of 3,650.