FINLAND is set to expel around 20,000 asylum seekers it received last year, according to the country’s interior ministry.
Jake Burman writes….
Around two-thirds of the 32,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in 2015 are estimated to be gradually deported, as immigration authorities process applications.
Interior ministry official Paivi Nerg said: “In principle we speak of about two-thirds, meaning approximately 65 percent of the 32,000 will get a negative decision.”
More than 20,000 of the asylum seekers to arrive in Finland last year came from Iraq.
The country made it more difficult for migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia to claim asylum after concluding the security situation had eased in certain areas of the Middle Eastern countries.
Ms Nerg said: “In previous years around 60 per cent [of applicants] received a negative decision but now we have somewhat tightened our criteria for Iraqis, Afghans and Somalis.”
She said two charter flights were penciled in to deport Iraqis within the following months.
But she stressed that each application was being evaluated individually and said the number of people Finland plans to expel was an estimate.
Finland is currently in diplomatic negotiations with neighbouring Russia to stop migrants from entering Finland via the Arctic region.
The number of migrants entering Finland has increased after Norway barred them from entering the country on its own Arctic border crossing with Russia in December.
It comes just days after Sweden announced it will dismiss up to 80,000 asylum seekers who had their applications rejected.
Around 163,000 migrants sought asylum during 2015, the highest per capita in the whole of Europe.
However, the Scandinavians interior minister Anders Ygeman said about “60,000 people” would be expelled but the figure could climb to 80,000.
In November Sweden tightened its borders on migrants and Mr Ygeman said last year: “Our signal to the rest of the EU is crystal clear.
“Sweden is the country that has shouldered the greatest responsibility for the refugee crisis.
“If we are to cope with this mutual challenge, the other countries must take their responsibility.”