53% of work-based residence permit applications concerned manual labour
Finnish companies are demanding more foreign highly skilled labour. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior intends to facilitate the processing of residence permits for specialists, which must be granted within a month.
Since 2017, the number of persons who applied for a residence permit in Finland on the basis of work has grown steadily. In 2018, a total of 10,805 applications for a residence permit based on work were submitted, which exceeds the same figure in 2017 by more than 2,000, informed today the Ministry of the Interior.
The Finnish Government is aware that companies need highly skilled labor. For this reason, the immigration authorities have taken measures to facilitate the entry of specialists and entrepreneurs in sectors such as ICT. Still, the majority of applications for work-based residence permits submitted in 2018 concerned manual labour (53% of applicants).
The second highest number applied for a residence permit based on specialist tasks (14%). The largest group among those applying for a residence permit for a person employed as a specialist were of Indian nationality (56%).
The Finnish Government said it wants to do the residence permit process "as smooth as possible so that it would not be an obstacle to attracting specialists to Finland". Therefore, aims to develop the processing of work-based residence permits so that the average processing time would be about one month.
In the case of international students, the employment is to be facilitated by extending the validity period of a residence permit after graduation to two years.
More specialists wanted
In spring 2018, the residence permit process for specialists was streamlined so that the first residence permit can now be granted for two years at a time instead of one year.
At the same time, a residence permit for start-ups directed to growth entrepreneurs was introduced, aiming to facilitate the immigration and entrepreneurship of international talents. It has been of particular interest to technology sector specialists.
In a report submitted to the OECD, the Ministry of the Interior estates that "immigration support's population growth, as the birth rate is record low in Finland". Certain work fields are suffering from a labour shortage, and the ageing of the population can aggravate the situation in the future. "The situation can be alleviated by labour immigration", the Government said.
In 2018, family was the most common reason for moving to Finland, and a total of 9,009 applicants were granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties. The figure for 2017 was of the same size. Traditionally, the greatest number of residence permits on the basis of family ties has been issued to Russian nationals.
Finland is striving to ensure that immigrants, who have been granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties or international protection, would enter working life faster than earlier. Rapid employment helps immigrants to integrate to Finnish society and eases the shortage of labour.
Very few new asylum seekers
The reception centres still have plenty of asylum seekers following the exceptionally high numbers of asylum seekers in 2015. In 2018–2019, fewer asylum seekers arrived than during any other period in the 2010s. In all, 4,548 asylum applications were submitted in Finland in 2018. Almost one half of these (2,139) were subsequent applications submitted by asylum seekers already in the reception system.
The Finnish Government stresses the importance of common European solutions, emphasising fair and sustainable sharing of responsibility, as well as Nordic cooperation in its response to the global refugee and asylum situation.
Finland promotes the wider use of the quota refugee system, which considers "an efficient and effective way of helping the most vulnerable refugees". Finland will receive 850 quota refugees in 2020.