Lessons from solidarity work with migrants to the post-2015 asylum and migration debate
The lack of proper legal assistance for asylum seekers and other foreigners with a precarious legal status has led to much of the migration activism in Finland taking the form of unofficial legal counselling. Actors in this field include the Free Movement Network, other small non-governmental organisations or activist groups and engaged individuals. In the seminar Politics of Migration in Tampere 22.–23.10.2018 several key questions around migration and migration policies were discussed. For instance, how well do fundamental categories of migration policy such as refugee or migrant worker match to the real world? Using the lens of practical work with asylum seekers and other precarious migrant groups in Finland, we connect this question to three experiences: the contradiction between bureaucratic categories and the real lives of migrants; internal contradictions of Finnish migration policy and thirdly, global inequalities which the current migration regime tries to respond to and which it partly reproduces. To create sound political solutions to the current “crisis” would require paying attention to how the labels and categories are produced by the bureaucratic system shaping the lives of persons on the move.