Tuesday 5/18/21

Government allocates additional 5.8 million to prevent Migri's collapse

The immigration agency will cancel the temporary layoffs planned for November and December.

Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo. Photo: Laura Kotila/Finnish-Government

The Government of Finland has announced today that it will allocate 5.8 million euros to prevent the collapse of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).

The agency in charge of processing residence permits and citizenship applications has been the target of many criticisms in recent weeks for violating the stated processing times. Criticisms came not only from the people affected, but also from the enterprises, which sometimes due to slow bureaucracy have to wait many months to incorporate the highly trained professionals they need.

Migri, meanwhile, blamed the lack of sufficient staff and funds. Last week, the immigration agency even announced its intention to apply temporary layoffs of two weeks in November and December and complained about the Government's intention to cut 120 jobs in 2020.

The Finnish Immigration Service expressed its intention to work "in a reduced capacity" in November and December and offered to "terminate" layoffs negotiations if the Government offered a solution to its complicated financial situation.

Ohisalo: "Layoffs not necessary"

On Tuesday, the Government responded to Migri's demands and offered 5.5 million euros to prevent the situation from getting worse. The Interior Ministry proposed to allocate additional 4.7 million euros to fund Migri's operations to the end of the year and other 1.1 million to develop its IT system. 

"Migri's processes have been strongly developed, but the measures taken have not been able to fully respond to the growing number of study and work permit applications. The agency will continue to work and develop processes to increase digitalisation and automation", the Ministry of the Interior said in a release on Tuesday.

The decision was later confirmed via Twitter by the Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo, who commented that now the processing of residence permits is "ensured" and "layoffs are not necessary".

The Finnish Immigration Service's funding increased significantly since 2015 as the number of asylum seekers increased. Since 2018, the level of funding has been declining, while the number of arrivals dropped.