The presidential election the rapid processing of asylum applications at the border, which was also mentioned in the discussions, i.e. the border procedure is progressing. However, the law cannot be enacted quickly, and it does not really help the current situation on the eastern border either.
On Monday, the Ministry of the Interior sent a draft of the Border Procedures Act for a two-week opinion round. The actual board presentation will only be made after the evaluations of the draft have been received. According to the ministry, the bill will be in parliament by mid-April.
The border procedure means that Finland could process most likely unfounded asylum applications quickly right at the border or close to it. It could be applied to an application made at the border crossing point of Finland’s external border or in connection with an unauthorized crossing of the external border.
In Finland, external borders are, in addition to the eastern border, e.g. international airports.
Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (ps) said emphatically last week that the border procedure is of very little use in solving the current situation on the eastern border. According to him, it is not a quick turnaround law.
Around 1,300 asylum seekers have crossed the eastern border from Russia to Finland since autumn. According to the assessment of the Ministry of the Interior’s experts, the Border Procedures Act could have been applied to about a hundred of the new arrivals if it had already been in force.
In the border procedure, those persons who, for example, have come from a country assessed as safe or have otherwise submitted an obviously unfounded application are screened in advance. These applications should be resolved quickly, within four weeks of submission.
On the other hand, Syrian and Yemeni asylum seekers, almost all of whom receive asylum in Finland, and Somalis, about half of whom receive asylum, have crossed the eastern border. So they have had the grounds for the application, and the fast lane would not apply to them.
In the border procedure the movement of asylum seekers in Finland or their transfer through Finland to other EU countries can be restricted.
The applicant is supposed to stay in a reception center near the border, which, for example, would be the Joutseno reception center at the eastern border. However, it is not about detention, which means that the applicant would be allowed to move around the area of the center.
The applicant would be accessible to the authorities at the reception center, in which case a possible negative decision with conversions would be implemented quickly.
If it’s about applicants from the eastern border and Russia, basically the aim is to return the applicants to their original home country. Turning them back to Russia would require that Russia agrees to take the applicants back.
Border procedure was already pending during the previous government, but the parliament did not have time to deal with it due to the end of the election period, and the proposal lapsed.
The difference between now and the past is, among other things, that the border procedure could be used in all situations. According to the expired proposal, the border procedure would always have been introduced by a separate decision of the government.
The Ministry of the Interior also proposes that the Aliens Act be supplemented with regard to the accelerated procedure.
In practice, the accelerated procedure means that an applicant who has received a negative decision can be returned faster than in the normal asylum procedure. It could be used for applicants who receive a negative decision, who can be considered a danger to Finland’s national security or public order, or for re-applications.