Finnish Leadership Mulls Changes to Aliens Act

Migration Minister Astrid Thors is proposing changes to the Aliens Act. Recent highly publicised deportation cases involving two grandmothers, one Egyptian and the other Russian, have fuelled debate on the necessity of a legislative change. Pekka Hallberg, President of the Supreme Administrative Court, says he supports amending the law.

Image: YLE

Hallberg and Thors agree the Aliens Act should be amended to allow for greater discretion in cases in which denying a residence permit could be considered unreasonable.

The Minister has called Parliament’s Administration Committee in for a meeting next month to discuss modifications to the law governing residence permit matters.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen says that while the Aliens Act may be amended from a humanitarian perspective, the law won’t change how Finland perceives the concept of immediate family.

Finnish law does not consider grandparents to be part of the immediate family, and therefore they do not have the same right of residence as parents of minors, for example.

Vanhanen on Wednesday met with the families of the elderly women awaiting deportation, Egyptian Eveline Fadayel and Russian Irina Antonova. He says the bill could pass before Parliament’s summer recess.

MP Ben Zyskowicz, who’s National Coalition Party has taken a tough line on immigration, gave Thors’ initiative a thumbs up.

“The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling wasn’t reasonable. If a legislative change is necessary, we’re prepared to make it happen,” says Zyskowicz, referring to a court-ordered deportation of Fadayel.

Both women can reapply for residence permits should Parliament pass a bill to alter the Aliens Act.