Asylum seekers arriving in Finland decrease significantly in 2016

HELSINKI, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The number of asylum seekers arriving in Finland in 2016 will be about 7,000, much less than in2015, said the head of the Finnish Immigration Service on Wednesday.

The previous estimate made by the authority was about 10,000 asylum seekers arriving in 2016.

Jaana Vuorio, director general of the Finnish Immigration Service, told Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat that the latest estimate was a significant decrease from the number in 2015, when more than 32,500 asylum seekers arrived.

Vuorio attributed the main reasons behind the drastic reduction to the border controls put in place and the sharp drop in the number of migrants attempting sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Another reason was that Finland tightened its policy on asylum applicants coming from Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, she added.

Vuorio said the Finnish Immigration Service would keep a close eye on the situation in Mosul, northern Iraq.

Recently, Iraqi government forces with allied militias and international forces launched a joint offensive to recapture the city of Mosul, which was seized by the militant group Islamic State in 2014.

Mosul is a major Iraqi city with a population of 1.5 million people. The United Nations warned that up to one million local residents could be forced from their homes by the warfare, with700,000 of them in need of shelter.

"For Iraqis, we also have to consider whether the person could return safely to some other part of the country," Vuorio was cited by Helsingin Sanomat as saying.

Currently, there are still some 22,000 asylum seekers living in reception centers in Finland. The number was 38,000 at the beginning of this year, said Vuorio. Enditem

[ Editor: Xueying ]
 

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