Somalis living in Finland will find it more difficult to bring family members to this country next year when new rules are to take effect.
The exact stipulations of expected legislative change remain unknown but according to a report aired on Thursday by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), the aim is to harmonise family unification policy among the Nordic Countries.
Sweden has introduced new rules under which someone wanting to join a family member already in the country must have reliable identification documents. In Somalia’s cases this effectively means that arrivals would need to produce a passport issued before the Somali state collapsed in 1991.
, chairman of the Finland-Somalia Society says that implementing such a requirement would amount to an end to family unification.
“Why would a Finnish citizen who came from Somalia at one time, who is studying at university or serving in the military, be denied such a fundamental right?” Mubarak wonders.
Mubarak feels that such a narrowing of the right to family unification is a violation of human rights.
However, he also feels that changes in legislation are in order.
“One condition might be integration into Finnish society, such as having a job. The debate has gone in the wrong direction. Resources in Finland have also not been used efficiently enough, in the form of interpreter services offered by Somalis”, says Mubarak, who has lived in Finland for 20 years.
One issue that has been raised recently in the debate over family unification is the question of so-called anchor children. The term refers to underage asylum seekers who are sent to a recipient country so that the child’s family can follow.
The veracity of the family ties has been checked in Finland through DNA testing, for instance. Both Mubarak’s Finland-Somalia Society and the Somali League denounce all deceptions.
“The prevention of questionable unification cases is in the interests of both Finnish society and the immigrants”, Mubarak points out.
“Getting close relatives of an immigrant to Finland is an integration question”, he adds.