26 September 2023

FINLAND: Migrant applications overwhelm Agencies

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The two Finland Public Service Departments handling work-based residence permit applications say they are facing major difficulties and require more resources.

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) and Ministry for Foreign Affairs says there has been an increase in the number of work-based residence applications, only briefly halted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

While Finland received fewer than 6,500 work-based residence permit applications in 2015, the number had more than tripled to nearly 21,000 in 2022.

In a statement, the Migri said without further investment, the application backlog could balloon to more than 200,000 and the system would become seriously congested.

“This is because without additional funding, we will not be able to continue automating our processes and will have to rely on employees to clear backlogs manually,” Migri said.

“At the same time, we will have to reduce staff due to an increase in other operating costs.”

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs added to the warning, with Head of Consular Affairs, Jussi Tanner saying Consular Offices abroad had relatively limited resources to process applications, a fact that could become problematic, especially if the application numbers continued to rise.

“In India, for instance, we’re getting 100 residence permit applications a day, whereas a year ago that number was 28. This year, at least twice as many visas will be granted than last,” Mr Tanner (pictured) said.

“The situation is unsustainable if the number of applications continues to increase in the coming years. We’d then simply not have enough hands. We and Migri have ideas, but we need to have enough people and tools.”

Helsinki, 11 June 2023

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