Finnish government prepares border security measures amid increased asylum seeker influx

Government parties agree on proposals for border restrictions, citing changes in Russian authorities' actions and a surge in asylum applications.

Photo by Chief National Guard Bureau on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

On Tuesday, the Finnish Government announced its agreement that the Ministry of the Interior is to present a proposal on implementing restrictions under section 16 of the Border Guard Act, which grants authorities the power to take various measures as deemed necessary.

These measures may include the restriction or closure of border crossing points and centralizing applications for international protection at designated border crossings.

“As agreed in the Government Programme, the Government will ensure Finland’s border security in all situations. If necessary, the Government is prepared to exercise all its powers under the law in situations that seriously endanger border security,” Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen stated.

According to the Finnish Border Guard, an increased influx of asylum seekers without proper travel documents has been observed at the border crossing points in Southeastern Finland since August 2023, with 91 individuals applying for asylum, surpassing typical numbers. The majority of these applicants lacked the necessary entry visa and utilized Russia for transit as citizens of third countries, indicating a change in Russian authorities’ actions in regards to allowing travel without proper documentation.

The Finnish Border Guard has identified this as a potential illegal migration phenomenon, with possible links to international crime, prompting close monitoring and evaluation by security authorities to assess its impact on Finland’s public order and security.

Additionally, Finland has officially communicated to Russian authorities that a ban on bicycle border crossings at any checkpoint along the eastern border will be implemented, starting November 15. The ban, declared by the Finnish Border Guard, will remain in effect until further notice.