Migri investigates ‘appointments for cash’ scam

Work or residence permit appointments were being offered for sale online at a cost of tens of euros, rather than hundreds of euros, officials say.

File picture of Migri logo on glass door / Credit: Migri Twitter

The Finnish Immigration Authority Migri says it’s investigating an apparent ‘appointments for cash’ scam where someone booked dozens of appointment times, then tried to sell them to people with a longer wait in the queue.

The head of Migri’s permit and citizenship unit Anna Lindström says they were contacted recently by two employers whose workers were offered the chance to buy earlier appointment times.

“This is not acceptable and we have taken various measures” she writes on Twitter. “Our times cannot be bought.”

Lindström tells News Now Finland that Migri also discovered one case where a single email address had made 45 appointment times – but not completed valid customer names on the online application. There are some situations where one applicant could request multiple interview times – for example an employer filing the paperwork for several staff members – but it’s not thought to be the case here.

Anna Lindström says officials contacted the person who made the appointments and told them to cancel the extra ones. That person did canceled some appointments, and Migri canceled the rest for them.

The appointment times were being offered in different online groups, and Lindström says they were being sold for tens of euros, not hundreds of euros.

Migri is unsure whether any laws have been broken and says they’re investigating the issue and gathering more proof from the employers who gave the original tip about the scheme.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that Migri’s operations during the spring and summer were scaled back but Lindström says during the autumn there are plans to ease the situation with appointments. However she notes that staff resources are 20% less this year than in autumn 2019.