Finland received fewer immigrants in 2020 than in the previous year. The number of applications submitted abroad was reduced by almost a third compared to 2019 and the positive decisions issued by the authorities during the year fell also by nearly a fifth.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said in a press release that this was due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the immigration agency, a total of 21,160 applications for a first residence permit were submitted in 2020, which is almost a third less than in 2019, when 31,510 were made.
The decrease applies to residence permit applications submitted on the basis of work (8,771 in 2020 against 12,687 in 2019), family ties (8,369 in 2020 and 11,753 the year before) and especially to studies, which were cut in half (3,299 applications in 2020 and 6,493 in 2019).
A total of 20,757 first residence permits were granted last year, which is 18.3% less than in 2019, when Finland granted first permits to 25,412 people.
Work, family and studies were, for yet another year, the most common reasons for moving to Finland.
In 2020, a total of 8,508 first residence permits were granted on the basis of work (9,461 in 2019). If to that amount are added the employees who came with a certificate for seasonal work, a total of 20,117 permits were granted on the basis of work (19,380 in 2019).
"We expect work-related immigration to increase in the future, and therefore it is important that the processing of residence permits is seamless," says Jari Kähkönen, Director General of the Finnish Immigration Service.
A total of 8,592 residence permits were granted on the basis of family ties (10,251 in 2019) and 3,225 on the basis of studies (5,246 the year before).
The number of applications for an extended residence permit submitted in Finland continued to increase despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, a total of 30,161 applications for an extended permit were submitted (27,988 in 2019), and a total of 27,750 extended permits were granted (25,831 the year before).
The most common grounds for applying and for granting an extended permit was family ties.
Registrations of EU citizens’ right of residence decreased too. A total of 8,982 applications were submitted (10,051 in 2019).
EU citizens received 7,629 positive decisions (8,533 in 2019). EU citizens move to Finland especially for work reasons.
More Iraqis applying for citizenship
Last year, Iraqi citizens submitted the largest number of citizenship applications in Finland. For years, the largest group applying for Finnish citizenship has been Russian citizens.
"Especially asylum seekers who arrived to Finland in the autumn of 2015 and have been granted international protection are now applying for Finnish citizenship. A person who has been granted international protection must live in Finland for four years before he or she can be granted Finnish citizenship," says Pauliina Helminen, Head of Branch at the Permit and Nationality Unit.
In 2020, Iraqis submitted 1,881 citizenship applications (compared to 1,588 in 2019 and 972 in 2018).
Last year, a total of 8,744 persons were granted Finnish citizenship (10,062 the year before). A total of 11,491 persons were granted a permanent residence permit (10,132 in 2019).
The number of asylum applications submitted in 2020 was small. Last year, a total of 3,209 asylum applications were made (4,550 in 2019; 4,548 in 2018; 5,047 in 2017; 5,647 in 2016; 32,477 in 2015 and 3,649 in 2014).
A total of 1,275 first asylum applications were submitted.
In 2020, the number of new asylum seekers was smaller than before the year 2015.