In today’s episode, Petra speaks with Reform Migri founder Julia Hsiao-Pei Liao and Reform Migri team member Anudari (Anuka) Boldbaatar about their organization’s reform petition and recent panel discussion.
Julia began the Reform Migri petition in late April with the goal of improving Migri services and to reduce hardship caused by Immigration Service procedures.
She spoke with others who, like her, were having a difficult time with the application process. While her case was merely inconvenient, she spoke to others who were experiencing life-changing hardship as a result of the decisions and processes of Migri.
Anuka, for example, is fighting a deportation decision issued earlier this year. After learning Finnish and finishing a nursing program at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. After graduating, she planned on moving to Scotland to be with her husband; however, her Finnish student residence permit was soon to expire. So, Anuka applied for an extended residence permit.
Her application was denied. She was issued a deportation decision, and banned from the Schengen area for two years. Frustratingly, the reasons for the decision were kept confidential. She was informed only that some portion of the income requirement documents she submitted were believed to have been forged.
Anuka got a lawyer and began the year-long appeal process while a police investigation looked into the allegedly forged documents. Eventually, the investigation revealed that her bank statements were misread.
In addition to the financial cost of fighting the decision, Anuka faces legal and health consequences as a result of the ordeal. Even if the decision is overturned, the deportation decision remains on her record. This could make her ineligible for citizenship or residence in Scotland, where her husband lives.
“I’m just in a limbo and it’s really difficult because I don’t have family here,” she said. “I don’t have my husband here. I can’t leave.”
Julia and Anudari believe there should be consequences for life-changing errors, and they believe the rigid protocol that results in such decisions needs to change.
“I’m gonna make sure that my case gets as much attention to the Reform Migri campaign as possible,” Anuka said. “The more we speak up, the faster change will happen.”
Julia feels angry, too. She points out that many others simply accept negative decisions, leaving family behind.
“This is injustice done by a public institution, and it shouldn’t happen that way.”
To create an open dialogue and work towards change, Julia founded the Reform Migri movement. Together with seven co-signing organizations, Reform Migri opens a channel of communication with the institutions in control of permit-seekers’ lives. They also work to amplify the voices of those who, like Anudari, face significant hardship as a result of current Migri procedures.
Reform Migri recently held a panel discussion with members of five co-signing organizations and the director general of Migri, Jari Kähkönen.
During the panel discussion, organization leaders gave suggestions for improving student and entrepreneur permit application processes and discussed the impact of Migri practices on the startup and talent shortage.
The panel discussion was largely successful— Jari Kähkönen solicited proposals and feedback and expressed a willingness to continue the conversation. However, Julia points out, there is still much work to be done.
Tune in to this week’s episode to learn more about Reform Migri’s work to streamline immigration services in Finland. Check out the links below to see how you can get involved and support the Reform Migri Petition.
Important links mentioned in this episode:
Panel discussion recording: https://www.facebook.com/reformmigri/videos/216838390264305
30-min free legal consultation: https://www.facebook.com/reformmigri/posts/115570867358297
FB Page: Facebook.com/reformmigri
Yle All Points North podcast: Starts 08:09 https://areena.yle.fi/audio/1-50827330