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Foreign Ministry warned over locally-hired staff tasks in Turkish, Ethiopian embassies

The ministry argues the practice is due to a lack of staff.

Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti. Image: Retu Liikanen / Yle

The Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti has warned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over its practice of asking locally-hired staff to perform tasks that should by law be reserved for civil servants hired in Finland.

The ministry claimed the practice was due to a lack of staff.

Workers in an employment relationship are in a different legal position to officials hired by the state, under Finnish law.

The decision relates to a complaint received about the Finnish embassies in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and Turkish capital Ankara. The complainant claims to have been employed as a local hire and sat in on interviews and DNA sample taking in 2018 and 2019.

The complaint states that the practice was a long-standing and established practice among Finnish embassies. The complainant said that in Ankara, rights to be in the country were investigated by a Turkish citizen who was not a double citizen.

Ministry blames staff shortage

In the ministry's statement to the Chancellor of Justice, it says that there were not enough officials to conduct these tasks without causing unreasonable delays to the processing of visas.

For that reason, locally-hired Finnish staff were used to deal with these tasks. The ministry claims that they were however given appropriate training to handle their duties, and were supervised properly while conducting them.

The Chancellor of Justice said in his ruling that the ministry's practises were not justifiable in law, and asked the ministry to explain how it will change its ways. The deadline for that explanation is the end of June.