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Police concerned about missing undocumented asylum seekers

The Eastern Finland police have deported dozens of asylum seekers from the country in the past year, but some have also fallen off the official radar. Migrants in Finland without proper documentation risk being taken advantage of by human traffickers, officials say.

Nuoret turvapaikahakijat pelaavat biljardia vastaanottokeskuksen ikkunan äärellä.
Asylum seekers awaiting their decisions in a reception centre. Image: Antti J. Leinonen

Police in Eastern Finland have been unable to find several asylum seekers who have received negative asylum decisions or whose permit applications are still pending. The Eastern Finland police say that there have been "about ten" such cases so far this year.

Some of the missing people may have left Finland of their own accord. Undocumented persons staying in Finland are usually not sought separately. Instead police strive to apprehend such individuals in the course of normal immigrant monitoring.

"Staying in a country without permission is a lose-lose situation," says chief inspector Markus Taskinen. "It's bad for the individuals themselves, as not having documentation means waiving certain rights and being prone to being taken advantage of by human traffickers."

Taskinen says there are no children among the missing migrants in Eastern Finland.

Repatriations going smoothly

The Eastern Finland police have deported dozens of people with negative asylum decisions from the country so far this year.

"Deportation-wise the situation has been fairly brisk throughout," Taskinen says. "There have been more of them in the past few months than there were early this year."

Some of the repatriations have been so-called accompanied deportations where police escort the person in question all the way to the destination country. During monitored deportations police only make sure that the person is seated in the airplane transporting them from the country.

"I don't have the exact figures, but a majority of the cases are the monitored kind. Things have gone smoothly by and large," says Taskinen.

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