The government of Finland has ordered a surge of deportations in the last year, with the country seeing an 80 per cent increase in expulsions of foreigners in 2019.
The Finnish Immigration Service expelled 1,963 foreigners who had been granted residency permits, with a large number of the cases, 331, being Uzbekistan nationals with fake work credentials employed in the construction industry.
According to broadcaster YLE, many of the Uzbek migrants had claimed to have received their credentials from a vocational school that did not actually exist. Despite this, the Finnish authorities approved the work permits for the migrants until they were informed it was a fake school.
Lawyer Ville Punto has said that Finland’s residence permit policy has become much stricter in recent years saying: “There are families with children who have children born in Finland or who have started primary school in Finland. They are fully integrated and speak Finnish, but on the basis of their income, they have to leave the country.”
Finland: 70 Per Cent of Migrants Denied Asylum Convert to Christianity, Appeal
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Deportations of criminals also increased in 2019 by around a third for a total of 234 expulsions with police recommending deportations only in cases where the perpetrator receives a sentence of at least a year or more.
“If they have been in Finland for a long time and commit only basic crimes, quite often they end up not being deported,” Olli Koskipirtti, Director of the Finnish Immigration Service, said.
Many failed asylum seekers have also sought to avoid deportation, with a 2017 report claiming that as many as 70 per cent had attempted to convert to Christianity as a means to stay in the country.
“Amongst the converts [to Christianity] there are now Afghans and Iraqis. The change of religion occurs after receiving a denial of asylum – that is, during the appeals period,” the Immigration Service’s department for asylum seekers director Tirsa Forssell said.