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No-confidence vote sought over government's immigration policy

Parliament will consider a motion of no confidence proposed by the opposition Finns Party and Movement Now.

 Liike Nytin Harry Harkimo ja perussuomalaisten puheenjohtja Riikka Purra tiedostustilaisuudessa eduskunnan Kansalaisinfossa Helsingissä 7. lokakuuta 2021.
Harry Harkimo, the chair of Movement Now and Finns Party chair Riikka Purra jointly filed the motion aimed at a vote of no confidence over immigration policy. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

The small Movement Now political grouping joined the opposition Finns Party on Thursday in sponsoring an interpellation aimed at forcing a vote of no confidence in the government over its immigration policies.

According to Harry Harkimo, the chair of Movement Now, national legislation should promote controlled immigration and minimise any unwanted side effects associated with it. He criticised proposed government policy as doing the opposite.

"We need to learn to talk about both humanitarian and work-related immigration without immediately turning the conversation into a discussion about discrimination," Harkimo stated in a Thursday press release.

The filing to move to a vote of no confidence is focused on a draft bill put forward by Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) amending the Aliens Act to make it easier to reunite families.

If passed, it would mean that family members of persons receiving international or temporary protection would not need to fulfil the requirement for sufficient financial resources to receive a residence permit in situations where the family was established before the sponsor’s arrival in Finland.

NCP rep also backs interpellation

Although the other main opposition party, the National Coalition (NCP) has not signed on to back the motion filed on Thursday, one of its MPs, Heikki Vestman, also issued criticism of the government's bill. It would make a negative residence decision possible for family members of a minor who has been granted international protection – but only if family reunification is considered to be against the best interests of the child.

"The Marin government seems to be living in a different reality than the security authorities and the rest of Europe, which is slowly closing its borders to asylum seekers and tightening humanitarian immigration for security reasons," Vestman wrote in a release.

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra justified opposition to government immigration policy by arguing that its proposals would further a breakdown in economic, social and security aspects of the Finnish system.

"Why are the Greens allowed to hang around in government and decide on their own about on such serious and fundamental issues for our country?" Purra asked.

The motion filed Thursday is also aimed at a vote of no confidence in the government's economic policy.

Announcing the interpellation on Sunday, Purra said on Twitter that her party "does not accept the government’s planned easing of immigration policy". She called for "precise economic policies in which spending targets are prioritised" in order to tackle debt growth, deficits and other undesirable trends.

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