Helsinki, 8 August 2022
The Ministry of the Interior has sent out for comments a draft for amendments to the special legislation on migration. The purpose is to enable automated decision-making in the activities of the Finnish Immigration Service. This would make it possible to resolve simpler matters as efficiently as possible.
The Ministry of Justice is preparing general legislation on automated decision-making within public administration. In order for automated decision-making to be introduced at the Finnish Immigration Service, the Ministry of the Interior proposes in its draft that the agency’s clients could request an administrative review of an automated decision concerning them free of charge. This would ensure the legal protection of clients.
A free request for administrative review would be a quicker and simpler ex-post legal remedy than the current request for review system. At the moment, a client dissatisfied with the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service may appeal to an administrative court. This would continue to apply to decisions other than those made automatically.
The deadline for submitting comments is 9 September 2022. The government proposal for general legislation on automated decision-making is due to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2022. The proposal for automated decision-making in the activities of the Finnish Immigration Service is to be submitted to Parliament at the same time.
Automation would facilitate routine decision-making
Automation would benefit both the agency and its clients as it can help streamline the making of routine decisions and allocate staff specifically to tasks where an expert’s assessment is needed. Asylum applications, for example, involve a whole range of issues requiring individual examination and overall consideration. For this reason, asylum applications would not be subject to automation but, instead, continue to be processed by public officials.
Currently, legislation does not yet enable fully automated decision-making. However, the Finnish Immigration Service already has good experiences of semi-automation in the processing of residence permit applications. It has helped speed up the processing of applications for temporary protection submitted by Ukrainians, for example.