The Finnish Immigration Service revealed that Finland issued more residence permits this year than last year’s figures.
The achievement comes after automating and accelerating the visa application processing time which in January-September was an average of 77 days, about 46 percent less than the previous year (143 days), TheSchengen.com reports.
The Immigration Service also highlighted that the goal is to issue work-related residence permits within a month by 2023 as well as inform clients more about the processing of their applications.
Moreover, residence permits were issued mainly to workers according to their field of work, with the largest number of permits issued to employed applicants compared to unemployed people such as cooks, cleaners and construction workers.
According to the Immigration Service, during the first nine months of this year, the average processing time for all work-related residence permits was 61 days, while in 2020, it was 111 days, about 45 percent.
>> Traveling to Finland amid COVID-19: Entry rules explained
In this regard, Anna Hypponen, Head of the Immigration Service, said that the Immigration Service is dedicated to finding new ways to process applications and noted that automation requires the right information.
Therefore, the information provided by the customer and the employer, and our customer guidance, is of great importance. We can achieve the best results by working with our clients, interest groups and other authorities.
Applications for residence permits from employees are initially processed by the Economic Development Offices (TE Offices), which make a partial decision on the application depending on the applicant’s financial resources, terms and conditions of employment, length of employment of the applicant and whether the workforce is available within the EU/ EEA for the respective work within a reasonable time. After that, the Finnish Immigration Service will decide on the application for a residence permit.
Moreover, progress was noted in the processing of visa permits for specialists, with the application processing time by the Immigration Service dropping by 27 per cent, from 22 days in 2020 to 16 days in 2021.
Specialists include, among others, IT experts and employees with a higher education degree who come to Finland to work in a job that requires certain professional skills.
“The premise is that Finland will need an immigration workforce in the coming years. We need to make sure that the move to Finland will be as easy as possible,” said Deputy General Manager Elena Imonen.
However, start-up entrepreneurs have made the most of the authority’s accelerated work process, with their waiting time for their first residence permit reduced by 65.7 per cent. This means that since the 70 days of waiting for a response to the application, they waited about 46 days less – indicating that those who applied for a residence permit from the beginning of the year waited about 24 days on average for a response.
Previously, the Finnish government announced the introduction of a long-term D country visa in an effort to encourage labor migration. All persons subject to a D visa can stay in Finland for more than a year, and this new visa will first include professionals, novice businessmen and their family members.