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Picture: Allessandro Valli/Flickr

The number of people violating their entry bans to Finland has increased dramatically in the past few years, reveals an evaluation report by a working group of the National Police Board on fighting illegal immigration.

In 2014, Finland had set 5,185 national entry bans and an additional 2,699 refusals of entry had been set by the Schengen countries. In the course of the year the entry ban was broken by 405 times. The number increased by 100 compared with the previous year. Almost all were Estonians.

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The number of violated entry bans in 2008-2014. Illustration: The National Police Board

According to the police, the refusal of and the fine levied for violating an entry ban are not sufficient penalties, since many people have repeatedly violated them. In the other Nordic countries, the maximum punishment for violating an entry ban is between one and three years of imprisonment. In Finland, violating an entry ban is punishable as a violation of the Aliens Act, for which the maximum punishment is a fine.

[alert type=red ]The arrangement of illegal immigration seems more carefully organised than before. The illegal immigrants using facilitators for the illegal entry have switched the escort services to the methods of arriving alone or in groups and using the instructions and documents provided for them. [/alert]

The typical formula for those receiving an entry ban goes like this: the person arrives in Finland to work, at some point commits a crime and is refused of entry. Because of the lack of control at the inner borders, they violate their ban several times.

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In total, the number of illegal immigration to Finland remained about the same as in previous years: 2,933 citizens of third-countries were caught residing illegally in Finland in 2014. The number decreased by 435 people compared with the previous year.

The arrangement of illegal immigration seems more carefully organised than before. The illegal immigrants using facilitators for their entry have switched the escort services to the methods of arriving alone or in groups and using the instructions and documents provided for them. These documents are usually authentic documents originally granted to someone else, then reported as either missing or stolen.

Acareful examination of the visa applications is an efficient method of preventing illegal immigration. Around 11,300 visa applications were refused in 2014. The most common reason for refusal was incorrect or falsified information on application or supporting documents, or an assessment of that the applicant in question would not leave the Schengen Area after the visit.

Regarding the residence permits, instances of misuse occur particularly in cases of permits related to work, where the applicant seeks a work-related residence permit but is actually staying in the country for other reasons. The authorities are fighting the misuse by interviewing applicants in Finnish missions abroad. At present, the most problematic professions are found among the restaurant workers, cleaners and child-minders.