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A handout photo distributed by the Police of Finland shows people boarding the first deportation flight to Iraq in February.The number of Iraqi asylum seekers who have withdrawn their applications and indicated their readiness to return to their home country voluntarily has continued to creep up, Mia Poutanen, a chief superintendent at the National Police Board, said at a press conference on Monday.

She revealed that a couple of thousand asylum seekers, mainly from Iraq, have left Finland voluntarily since last autumn.

“It seems that this trend has continued. For example, the number of people withdrawing their asylum application has already surpassed that of people submitting one at the Helsinki Police Department,” she stated.

The National Police Board also said it expects the demand for deportation flights for unsuccessful asylum seekers to increase considerably as the Finnish Immigration Service works through the backlog of applications that developed in the latter half of last year.

The passengers of such flights include both unsuccessful asylum seekers and asylum seekers who have withdrawn their application voluntarily. The Finnish Police supports the voluntary removals by expediting and facilitating the procedure and organised last month a total of two deportation flights for people who wished to return to Iraq.

Related posts:

- Iraqis continue to withdraw asylum applications (26 January, 2016)

- Many Iraqis want out of Finland – “I'm dying on the inside here” (09 December, 2015)

“The objective is that all who have cancelled their asylum application and wish to return to their home country are able to do so as soon as possible,” indicates a bulletin published by the National Police Board.

Poutanen stressed that the premise is that the subjects of removal cover the costs of their trip whenever possible. Otherwise the costs will be covered by Finland.

“The costs of deportation flights vary according to the distance, the number of people who are removed and the aircraft type. The costs vary between 20,000 and 200,000 euros for flights chartered to remove several, sometimes dozens of, people at a time,” she elaborates in the bulletin.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Handout / Helsinki Police Department
Source: Uusi Suomi