Wednesday 28 September 2016

Finland to expel 20,000 migrants 'before the year is out'

David Kearns

Published 30/01/2016 | 17:38

A migrant carries his baby after arriving on a rubber dinghy packed with refugees on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos Credit: Darrin Zammit Lupi (REUTERS)
A migrant carries his baby after arriving on a rubber dinghy packed with refugees on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos Credit: Darrin Zammit Lupi (REUTERS)

Finland will expel nearly 20,000 migrants before August, following a decision by neighbouring Sweden to deport some 80,000 asylum seekers.

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The majority of those to be returned are from Iraq, said a senior official for the Finnish Interior ministry.

Close to 62 pc of those who sought asylum in Finland last year will receive a “negative decision” said Permanent Secretary Paivi Nerg.

“This is around the normal percentage… 20,000 is the estimate we are working with at the moment but the number of asylum seekers who decide to return voluntarily could change it.”

About 4,000 asylum seekers had already withdrawn their applications, she added.

In 2014, Finland rejected the applications of some 3,600 asylum seekers, close to 56 pc.

Ms Nerg said the Government was planning to set up separate transit centres for those to be deported from those wanting to leave the country voluntarily.

Last year, the Finnish government tightened the process for granting asylum to refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, citing the improved security situation in some parts of those countries.

This week, neighbouring Sweden said that, according to its estimates, it will reject up to 80,000 of the 163,000 asylum applications it received in 2015.

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