Finland stops returns to Greece
last update: October 2015
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) examines whether the applicant: has submitted an application in another country following the Dublin II regulation (EU-countries, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland); has a family member with refugee status in said countries; has a visa or a residency permit granted by one of said countries; or has entered Finland illegally via one of the said countries. In case one of these conditions of Dublin regulation is fulfilled, another state is responsible for examining the application and Migri can return the applicant to the state responsible. At this moment Finland doesn’t return people to Greece.
A return may not be implemented if there are “individual grounds”. Most often these are: vulnerable condition, health, pregnancy, and usually the person has to have family or relatives in Finland at the time (for an adult this means: a partner or a child minor of age; for a child arriving alone this means any family member) or fulfill another ground for a residency permit. In some cases Migri has decided not to return someone even to Sweden, when the applicant’s health has been poor. However, usually these “individual reasons” don’t count, Finland follows the Dublin regulation quite efficiently: Even pregnant persons have lately been returned and people are being returned e.g. to Hungary at the moment. In principle even video image of the applicant in another country might be sufficient grounds for the Dublin procedure, yet in the current situation the procedure is mainly based on fingerprints. (...)
Situation of Dublin deportations to Hungary: According to the Refugee Advice Centre (PAN), all Dublin deportations have at this moment been halted either by Helsinki Administrative Court or European Court of Human Rights. However it is not yet clear, whether Finland will take this into account (info from 23th September).
The Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) has decided to stop returning asylum-seekers to Greece. According to FIS the Greek asylum procedures do not meet human rights standards. The decision follows a key verdict by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Friday, in which Belgium was condemned for violating the rights of an Afghan asylum-seeker when sending him back to Greece. Finland will now make an exception to the Dublin II Regulation regarding asylum-seekers who arrive in Finland through Greece. According to Esko Repo, director of the Asylum Unit in the Finnish Immigration Service, the decision is affecting some 30 asylum-seekers in Finland. Previously Finland has refrained from returning unaccompanied minors or vulnerable persons.
HBL 23 January 2011 (in Swedish)
Helsingin Sanomat 23 January 2011 (in Finnish)
YLE 23 January 2011 (in Finnish)