Did you know that Finland has an annual quota for refugees?
No, I don’t mean a limit. It’s not a ceiling on the number of refugees that can be admitted to the country. It’s a target that the Finnish government is supposed to meet. According to the English-language edition of Helsingin Sanomat:
Finland has taken in fewer refugees than its quota calls for almost every year in the present decade. The annual quota of 750 refugees has fallen short by 50-100 individuals in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
The impending shortfall this year aroused considerable public debate earlier this month, with officials of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labour blaming each other.
State officials have been somewhat vague about the situation in previous years. The Ministry of Labour claimed on Monday last week that “Finland has accepted 750 refugees each year at the recommendation of the UNHCR”.
Nevertheless, figures put out by the Labour Ministry show that from 2000 to 2005 Finland has failed to accept more than 290 refugees recommended by the UNHCR and for whom Parliament had earmarked funding.
“Naturally it is unfortunate if the quota is not filled. However, I believe that everything possible has been done in Finland so that this might happen”, insists Markku Wallin, Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Labour.
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Parliament sets the annual refugee quota, and budgets funding for settling the new arrivals. A shortfall of refugees one year does not increase the quota for the next.
According to Labour Ministry official Meri-Sisko Eskola, the main reason why the quota has not been filled in some years is that some of the trips by officials to select refugees for Finland have been delayed until the end of the year.
Eskola says that if the Finnish officials do not have time to interview a sufficient number of refugees that meet the requirements set by Finland, it can result in a fairly large gap.
“If the quota is 750, and we are offered 750 people, not all of them meet the security and integration criteria”, Vuorio says.
The ministries select refugees who they feel would not endanger overall security in Finland, and whose possibilities of integrating into Finnish society are seen as good.
At the Finnish Red Cross, Leena-Kaisa Åberg, head of the refugee and immigration section, says that a slight shortfall in the refugee quota is not completely unheard of internationally.
“This has happened in other Nordic Countries as well”, she says.
Åberg and Eskola suggest as a solution the idea contained in the government’s immigration policy programme, to switch from an annual to a three-year refugee quota, which would make it possible to make up for a shortfall in the following year.
Åberg notes that this would also make it easier for the UNHCR to find the kinds of refugee groups that meet Finland’s fairly stringent criteria.
Does this look like mass insanity to you, or is it just me?
We all know how bureaucracies work — when the agencies involved can’t meet their quota, they’ll fudge the qualifications of some “refugees” to make sure they get their numbers up. It’s the Soviet style of governance: ignore reality, make up the numbers, meet your quota, and cover your fundament.
Finland is fortunate that its level of refugee inflow is so much lower than that of Sweden or Norway. But, as the pressure mounts, the immigrants are going to be more and more from a certain religion of peace.
If I were a Muslim Brotherhood operative, I’d be exploring the guidelines in Finland’s refugee entrance requirements, looking for the loopholes so I could get my people through the door.
Hat tip: Harry Palmer.