The large number of “paperless migrants” has caught the authorities and the government unawares, Finland’s national broadcaster admitted. Recent research has attributed this to a unsuccessful combination of tougher immigration laws and failure to execute them.

Up to 15,000 of the over 30,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Finland at the height of the migrant crisis could have wound up as undocumented immigrants at some point in the asylum procedure, researchers Talvikki Ahonen and Annastiina Kallius have claimed, according to the newspaper Uusi Suomi reported.

Ahonen and Kallius also estimate that thousands of people may already have left the country totally unbeknownst to the authorities. According to their estimate, the number of undocumented residents, including rejected asylum seekers who despite the efforts of authorities remain in the country and are to be forcefully removed, still hovers at around several thousand.

“Given the lack of precise data on departures and the non-completion of the asylum procedure, we can only offer an estimate that 4,000-8,000 of the asylum seekers who arrived in 2015 could still be staying in Finland as undocumented people”, the report said.

A previous estimate made in the University of Turku report “The Undocumented in Finland” put their number at 3,000 to 4,000.

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