In 2021, Finland received 29 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 23% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 28% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 27.2% labour migrants, 33.4% family members (including accompanying family) and 10.3% humanitarian migrants. Around 5 800 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 3 100 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 14 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -42% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Russia, Estonia and Ukraine were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Estonia registered the strongest increase (+800) and Iraq the largest decrease (-200) in flows to Finland compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 250%, to reach around 4 800. The majority of applicants came from Ukraine (1 700, excluding temporary protection recipients), Russia (1 100) and Afghanistan (200). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Ukraine (+1 700). Of the 2 610 decisions taken in 2022, 47% were positive.

Emigration of Finnish citizens to OECD countries increased by 6% in 2021, to 8 300. Approximately 20% of this group migrated to Sweden, 11% to the Netherlands and 10% to Spain.

Finland continues to adapt its immigration legislation to address skilled labour shortages. In April 2023, the two-week fast-track for specialists and start-ups including a long-term visa D was extended to students, researchers and employees with a certified employer and their family members. Moreover, the goal is to reach an average maximum processing time of one month for all study- and work-based residence permit applications. Bilateral agreement on working holiday arrangement with Japan was implemented in 2023.

Starting from February 2023, a new assessment of age for minors benefitting from international protection has been introduced into the family reunification process. It is now based on the applicant’s age at the time of submitting the application, regardless of the application processing time. Moreover, the requirement for sufficient financial resources from the sponsors of minors has been eliminated to prioritise the child’s best interest.

Finland increased its quota for resettled refugees from 1 050 to 1 500 in 2022 mainly due to the situation in Afghanistan. Since December 2022, temporary protection is issued for the entire period of the temporary protection and extension is not required for those who already hold residence permits. Starting in 2023, the central government can provide compensation to municipalities for their service provision once beneficiaries have been assigned a municipality.

Parliament approved the comprehensive reform of the Integration Act in March 2023. Its implementation will take place in the beginning of 2025, coinciding with the reform of employment services. In December 2022, legislative amendments to give undocumented migrants access to healthcare services were approved. In January 2023, legislative amendments improving the status of victims of human trafficking entered into force.

The new non-discrimination Act was partly implemented in June 2023, broadening the definition of harassment to include group cases targeting specific populations and enlarging the scope to discrimination in the labour market.

In June 2023, a new government took office. The new government Programme includes numerous entries related to tightening of immigration and new integration requirements for immigrants.

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