Waiting room - The daily life of asylum seekers in Finland
Between 2014 and 2018, I documented the everyday life of four asylum seekers in Finland. Four years is a relatively long time to conduct a photography project, but a much longer time to wait for an asylum decision. And yet, for many asylum seekers, waiting for years on end is part of their distressing reality.
Most of these people would like to get ahead in life, to study and to work, but this can be difficult with their status as asylum seekers. Many are discouraged from planning for the future when their lives have been put on hold for years on end. Still, some asylum seekers do find their place in Finnish society.
The Finnish residence permit system is complicated. During the asylum process that spans several years, the state uses vast funds on asylum seekers’ living costs, healthcare, application processing and legal expenses. At the same time, the primary goal of the residence permit system seems to be to turn people in the prime of their working age away from Finland. What would happen if they were simply allowed to stay?