As our blogging journey has come to an end, I wanted to dedicate my third blog post to the last steps of asylum process. If an asylum seeker gets a positive decision, that means that he/she is granted with a residence permit based on international protection, subsidiary protection or compassionate grounds. But what happens if the answer is no? Our blogger Deric already covered the appeal process in his last post, but in mine I wanted to bring up different scenarios of what might happen after negative decision and shed light on the work that our working life partner Mosaiikki does, since many of their clients have faced this situation.
This topic came across in our conversation with Anna Hyytiäinen from Mosaiikki, which I presented in my first post. Most of Mosaiikki’s clientele consists of undocumented migrants, which is something that an asylum seeker becomes, if he/she gets a negative decision, cannot appeal about it anymore and stays here. Anna explained, how before the operation of Mosaiikki was ran by so that clients were able to visit them at any time during Mosaiikki’s opening hours. Now the situation is so, that clients must book an appointment beforehand, because the number of clients has increased so drastically. This tells a message that this kind of service is highly needed and useful to many.
Not only do Mosaiikki provide their clients with support and guidance, but it also organizes different kinds of events, that offers people a chance of getting acquainted and this way promote inclusion. I asked Anna, how do the clients get to know about Mosaiikki, and the answer was that the info runs by word of mouth. Considering this, the fact that a person wants to become their client and seek for support there, is about the client being active and showing influence in his/her own process. When talking about inclusion, Mosaiikki is a great example of how the clients are being included in the work Mosaiikki does. The workers do their work on the client’s terms and based on the client’s own will. The worker’s job is to assist the client, and not to do things on the client’s behalf.
Once the asylum seeker has gotten a negative decision and in case the Supreme Court has decided not to stop the refusal of entry, the person has the opportunity to leave Finland voluntarily and assisted by state within 30 days. If the person decides not to do this, then it is up to the police to enforce the refusal of entry, which means removing the person from the country. This situation is problematic in many ways, because according to the non-refoulement principle defined by Aliens Act and European Convention on Human Rights, no asylum seeker can be repatriated to his/her home country, where the person is likely to face any kind of inhumane treatment, death penalty or torture. Also, the fact that Finland does not have an agreement with every country concerning repatriation, increases the asylum seeker’s possibility of staying in Finland as undocumented migrant.
Voluntarily return causes a dilemma also, since for starters, 30 days is a really short time to gather up a life in here, not to mention that the person seeking for asylum has left his/her home country for a weighty reason. In 2017, an Iraqi asylum seeker returned to his home country after Finland had given him a decision on refusal of entry. The man got killed in Iraq soon after that. (Yle) This sends an alarming message that not even if a person voluntarily returns means that the person is safe in the country of origin.
Anna mentioned that some of her clients have stayed here for up to six years, which means that they likely have had several negative asylum decisions. To summarize our discussion, I totally agree with her that changes should be made to the Finnish asylum policy, so that somehow the residency of these people got legalized. Nobody deserves to live their lives undocumented, not having a place where to officially belong.