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Finland raises asylum approval rate after court setbacks

Finland made positive decisions on 40 percent of all asylum applicants in 2017, up from 27 percent in 2016.

Jono Maahamuuttoviraston palvelupisteen edessä
A queue in front of Migri's offices in March 2017. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

According to preliminary figures from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), 40 percent of the processed applications for asylum last year were positive, compared with 27 percent in 2016.

Decisions by Finland’s administrative courts on the security situation in Baghdad and Mogadishu, for example, have had an impact on the application outcome.

“They have had an effect on how our decisions change,” says Esko Repo from Migri.

However there are other reasons for the increase, Repo adds. In 2016, Migri mostly processed quick and easy applications, many of which were rejected as the applicants had no grounds for protection. Only in 2017 did Migri move on to the more challenging applications, where the decisions more often turned out to be positive, he explains.

Finally, Migri’s own evaluation about the security situation in different countries has caused an uptick. “For instance, there are more areas in Afghanistan where the conditions have deteriorated”, Repo says. The number of applications that Migri dealt with in 2016 totalled 28,000, falling to 9,400 last year.

The number of new applications Migri received each year amounted to about 5,000, with the most coming from Iraqis. Applications from Russians increased from the previous year, Repo says.

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