Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to assume responsibility for labour migration
From the beginning of 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be responsible for the administration of labour migration matters. This transfer of duties was agreed on in the Government Programme. The objective is to link labour and student migration more closely to employment, industrial, innovation, education and immigration policies.
The Government adopted the amendment to the Government Rules of Procedure concerning the transfer on 19 December. The Rules of Procedure lay down provisions on the administrative branches of the ministries.
“This transfer allows us to link labour migration more closely to the promotion of employment. It will also enable more effective use of connections with the business community. With this change we can pursue the Government’s objective of promoting labour migration while strictly adhering to the terms of employment,” Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen emphasizes.
The new responsibilities
From the beginning of next year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will be responsible for policies and legislation related to the immigration of workers, students and researchers, and the development of permit processes.
Similarly, responsibility for legislative projects related to the immigration of workers, students and researchers will be transferred from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The two ministries will continue to cooperate in the preparation of legislation.
The Ministry of the Interior will continue to be responsible for immigration policy and legislation on the whole, for general permit conditions, and for the performance guidance and resourcing of the Finnish Immigration Service. In future, the ministries will share responsibility for performance guidance in labour migration matters.
“It is usually family, work or studies that bring immigrants to Finland. Regardless of the reason for immigration, we must ensure permit procedures are fair and run smoothly. By taking steps to improve the workers’ residence permit process we can improve Finland’s ability to attract international talent,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.
Three administrative branches involved
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will have overall responsibility for the residence permit procedure for workers, students and researchers. Steps will be taken to simplify the process so that the goal specified in the Government Programme –an average processing time of one month– can be reached.
Roles and responsibilities of different administrative branches in the permit procedure:
- Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Finnish missions abroad accept applications and personal documents, and interview applicants.
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: TE Offices are responsible for partial decisions included in the employee’s residence permit. This step involves an assessment of the availability of labour, terms of the employment, and the employer’s and employee’s ability to meet specific criteria.
- Ministry of the Interior: The Finnish Immigration Service makes the decisions in all permit matters. Permit processing personnel will continue to work for the Finnish Immigration Service.
More sophisticated electronic system
In recent years, the Finnish Immigration Service has taken determined steps to improve its permit processes and to automate application processing. However, other things are required to shorten the processing time to one month, such as legislative reforms and further development and more extensive use of the electronic permit procedure system.
Development work will begin immediately. Measures related to processes can be implemented quickly, but reforms associated with legislation and electronic systems take longer and require additional resources.