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Voluntary migrant returnees may fly out next week

According to the Ministry of the Interior, during the past three weeks 20 to 30 asylum seekers a day have made the decision to return to their home countries. Community flights organised cooperatively with the Ministry and the embassies of several countries may start as early as next week.

Päivi Nerg
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Päivi Nerg. Image: Yle

The process of organising flights out of Finland for former asylum seekers who have decided to return to their home countries voluntarily has begun, says Päivi Nerg, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior.

Nerg says that the Ministry is currently arranging joint flights in cooperation with foreign embassies to expedite the return process.

"No dates have been set yet, but if everything goes as planned the first flights may be as early as next week," she says.

Some 4,000 returnees have already left Finland.

"These 4,000 people have flown out on flights they booked and paid for themselves," says Nerg.

The Permanent Secretary says that during the last few weeks some 20 to 30 migrants have made the decision to return to their country of origin, and the pace will likely remain the same for the rest of February.

According to Nerg, families and unattended children are likely to be leaving; the majority of those returning are young adult men travelling alone.

She calls the return agreement talks with different countries "a long-term form of action."

"Agreement proposals have gone out to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. We held some discussions last week and they are set to continue in a few week's time. There has been neither setbacks nor any significant progress. The talks with Iraq are the furthest along, as they were started first," says Nerg.

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