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Deputy-Ombudsman issues reprimand for unlawful refusal of entry

Helsinki Immigration Police restricted EU citizens' right to depart to the EU country they wished to go to

18.6.2009

Deputy-Ombudsman Jukka Lindstedt has issued a reprimand to the Helsinki Immigration Police for having acted unlawfully in not allowing EU citizens to depart from Finland to another EU country that they wished to go to.

It had been decided to refuse the EU citizens entry to Finland. However, the Immigration Police refused to hand over their passports to them, because they did not wish to go back to their home country, but instead to another EU country. Under the Aliens Act, EU citizens have the right to leave the country voluntarily within at least one month of having been ordered to depart. Then the police can not restrict their right under the EU directive to travel freely within the Member States.

The Deputy-Ombudsman points out that the Immigration Police interpreted the Aliens Act and the EU directive erroneously when it took the view that persons who have been refused entry can voluntarily leave only to go to their home countries.

In his assessment, the culpability of the Immigration Police in committing the error was lessened by the fact that the Directorate of Immigration (nowadays the Finnish Immigration Service) had stated in its decision that it returns persons who have been refused entry specifically to their home country.

Additional information will be provided by Legal Adviser Jari Pirjola, tel. +358 (0)9 432 3361.