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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has reiterated his assessment that so-called economic migrants accounted for over a half of the asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in 2015–2017. (Credit: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has reiterated his assessment that so-called economic migrants accounted for over a half of the asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in 2015–2017. (Credit: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has produced statistics to back up the claim he made about asylum seekers in an interview on YLE TV1 on Saturday.

Sipilä came under heavy criticism for estimating that the majority of asylum seekers are so-called economic migrants and that uncontrolled immigration is the reason for the recent wave of anti-immigration demonstrations in Germany.

His assessment was refuted the following by the public broadcasting company, which pointed out that positive decisions accounted for over a half of the roughly two million asylum decisions issued in Europe in 2016–2017.

“It is a fact that most of the people who arrived in 2015 and during the [migrant] crisis did not meet the criteria for receiving asylum in Finland,” Sipilä reiterated in his blog on Monday.

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“The Finnish Immigration Service’s (Migri) statistics indicate that a positive decision was granted to roughly a third of the asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in 2015–2017. Out of the asylum seekers who arrived in Europe, roughly 44 per cent were granted a positive decision. The majority therefore did not have a justification for their asylum claim in Europe,” he argued.

Migri has reported that positive decisions made up roughly 40 per cent of the asylum decisions issued in 2017, 27 per cent of the decisions issued in 2016 and 25 per cent of the decisions issued in 2015. The percentages add up to an average of approximately 30 per cent, according to Sipilä.

The statistics, however, do not take into account asylum applications that expired or were left unprocessed, reminded Erna Bodström, an immigration researcher at the University of Helsinki. She added that excluding such applications is a means to lower the share of positive asylum decisions.

“When it comes to these [applications], you can’t say that the applicants didn’t meet the asylum criteria because the criteria were never actually investigated,” she tweeted.

Sipilä noted in his blog post that hopes of better pre-conditions for life are nevertheless an understandable reason to seek entry to Europe.

“But the purpose of the asylum system is to help people in vulnerable positions. The first and most important objective of our asylum policy is to help vulnerable people fleeing war and persecution. That is why I have proposed that the refugee quota be raised in Finland,” he said.

He also drew attention to the importance of “controlled” employment-based immigration and moderate debate about the different dimensions of immigration in Finland.

“Europe and Finland need employment-based immigration. Uncontrolled immigration, however, will undermine the sense of security and, for its part, contribute to an increase in xenophobia. The concerns of people are always genuine. Many have asked if we really have this issue under control. We must not disregard the concerns and fears of people, but as policy makers we must be able to discuss solutions without overruling others with our prejudices,” he stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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