The Ministry of the Interior has sent the government a proposal to amend the Aliens Act for statements. The aim of the proposal is to ensure that the right to family life of beneficiaries of international protection is realized as fully as possible. The aim is also to ensure that the best interests of the child are realized in cases of family reunification of minors granted international protection.

The Aliens Act is to be amended so that the subsistence condition required for the residence permit of a family member of a person receiving international or temporary protection is completely abolished in situations where the family has been formed before the family reunified arrives in Finland.

A child with international protection could live with his or her parents more often than at present. The aim of the proposal is to promote the best interests of the child in situations of family reunification of minors granted international protection so that a child granted international protection can live with his or her parents more often than at present. When a family reunified is a minor enjoying international protection, a residence permit based on family ties could be refused less frequently on the basis of circumvention of entry rules. Care must also be taken to ensure that the child is not exploited as a means of entry.

The proposal also seeks to specify the date of submission of an application for a family member’s residence permit as the date for determining the child’s minor, in accordance with the recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It must be ensured that the child’s right to family life is exercised equally, both nationally and between the EU Member States, and not arbitrarily, depending on when the application for a residence permit is processed.

The draft proposal is based on the Government Programme’s record that the problems of family reunification and the reasonableness of income limits for family gatherers receiving international protection will be examined, taking into account the protection of family life, the best interests of the child and the level and practice of living conditions in other Nordic countries. The government program also states that the application of the subsistence condition to minor family gatherers who have been granted a residence permit on the basis of the need for international protection will be abolished.

The removal of barriers to family reunification promotes the government’s pro-human and fundamental rights policy, as well as its child- and family-friendly policies. In addition to the Constitution, the right to family life is enshrined in, inter alia, Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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