Finland asylum applications highest among the Nordic Countries / News / The Foreigner

Finland asylum applications highest among the Nordic Countries. Europe experienced a major influx of asylum seekers in 2015, with ten times as many applying in Finland compared with the previous year. Application numbers more than doubled in the EU28 countries year-on-year. Eurostat figures show these were 626,960 for 2014, while last year saw 1,321,600. Nordic country Finland had the highest-reported figures from this area of the world, having seen a roughly tenfold increase (roughly 800 per cent, according to the Finnish Immigration Authority).

asylum, refugees, immigration, paywall



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Finland asylum applications highest among the Nordic Countries

Published on Thursday, 29th September, 2016 at 17:36 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 29th September 2016 at 17:54.

Europe experienced a major influx of asylum seekers in 2015, with ten times as many applying in Finland compared with the previous year.

Frontier between Finland and Norway
Frontier between Finland and Norway
Photo: Public Domain/Vberger


Application numbers more than doubled in the EU28 countries year-on-year. Eurostat figures show these were 626,960 for 2014, while last year saw 1,321,600.

Nordic country Finland had the highest-reported figures from this area of the world, having seen a roughly tenfold increase (roughly 800 per cent, according to the Finnish Immigration Authority).

Some 3,620 applied for asylum in 2014, with 2015 seeing about 32,345 applications. The Foreigner asked authorities as to possible explanations for this increase.

“There is no explicit reason for the rapid growth of asylum applications in Finland in 2015,” says Immigration Authority Communications Advisor Verna Leinonen.

“Compared to other Western European countries, there is no particularly attractive social security system, employment situation or other pull factors in Finland – perhaps apart from the fact that Finland is a good and safe country to live in. The primary reasons for the growing number of asylum seekers can be found in the countries of origin and transit,” she adds.

At the same time, human smugglers played a role in the numbers, advertising Finland to the vulnerable using promises that were unrealistic, according to her – this has been the case in Norway in the past, with the Government using social media to discourage those without the need for protection from applying for asylum.

Special facility

“Last year, over 3,000 people cancelled their asylum application or just left Finland. 2,500 of them were Iraqis. Many were disappointed and said that Finland was not the type of place that they expected it to be,” Ms Leinonen explains.

Which were the top countries that asylum seekers came from?

“Many arrived from Sweden to the city of Tornio (in northern Finland's Lapland) in the autumn months of 2015. Finnish officials opened a registration centre there on 22nd September that year. Police registered over 15,000 asylum seekers there during the [remaining months of] 2015. The registration centre was closed in March 2016.”

Asylum seekers also began arriving from Russia in November via border crossing points at Lapland's Raja-Jooseppi and Salla.

“Some 1,800 arrived in Finland from then up until the end of February. Finland also agreed with Russia to limit border crossings there,” comments Verna Leinonen. “Usually asylum seekers arrive in Finland by ferry or by plane.”

Controversy                

Other Eurostat figures show that Norway experienced a tripling of asylum seeker applicant numbers year-on-year, despite its Rightist bipartite coalition and its immigration policies.

11,415 applied for asylum in 2014, while 31,110 did so last year – a similar pattern can be seen regarding Iceland: at 170 and 345, respectively.

And Like Finland, many arrived in Norway from Russia, crossing in the north at Storskog in Finnmark County’s Sør-Varanger municipality – Norway shares a border with Finland too.

The asylum seeker question proved to be a controversial matter for the Government. Some 5,500 asylum seekers crossed the border from Russia at Storskog in 2015, with Russian authorities accepting only a small proportion back into their country.

Norwegian Minister of Justice for the Progress Party (FrP), has now made the Storskog-Russia headlines once again. He has said that a fence will be built as a means of tightening security at this northern outpost of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone.

Eurostat’s figures also show that asylum applications for the other two Nordic countries increased roughly twofold.

Norway neighbour Sweden, with a porous border between both nations, recorded 81,180 for 2014, with 2015 seeing 162,450. Denmark’s figures for both years were 14,680 and 20,935, respectively.




Published on Thursday, 29th September, 2016 at 17:36 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 29th September 2016 at 17:54.

This post has the following tags: asylum, refugees, immigration, paywall.





  
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