Police: Residence Permit Fraud On Increase

The YLE News (Finland), August 29, 2007

Finnish police say that an increasing number of foreigners are gaining residence permits under false pretences.

They say there have been more cases recently of misuse of residence permits granted to students and more forged documents submitted to gain residence permits.

So far, police have discovered nearly 100 cases in which a foreigner has been granted a residence permit to study in Finland, but has actually come here to work.

‘We have recently noticed a boom in the number of cases where people come here to study and then quickly begin working instead,’ says Kaj Wahlman, director of the Helsinki police department’s immigration unit. He notes that most of these cases involve people from Africa and the Middle East.

Wahlman says there has also been an upswing in the volume of falsified documents presented with residence permit applications.

He notes that foreigners seeking to gain student status often apply to study at small educational institutions, often new ones in remote areas. Such institutions are often competing to attract students and do not always check paperwork carefully.

A common international application system is now being launched to help weed out fraudulent applications. And many colleges say they have become more careful in recent years after a few cases where foreign students have not shown up after admission.

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