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Iraqis largest group of family reunification applicants – number more than doubled from last year

31.10.2017 10.20
Press release

Iraqis are clearly the largest group of applicants currently applying for residence permits on the basis of family ties. Between 1 January and 30 September 2017, Iraqis submitted a total of 1,359 first applications for a residence permit on the basis of family ties. In 2016, the corresponding figure was 665.

The number of Syrian applicants has also increased considerably, making them the fifth largest group to apply for residence permits on the basis of family ties. By the end of September, they submitted 405 family reunification applications, while between 1 January and 30 September 2016, they submitted 156 applications. The total number of residence permit applications on the basis of family ties submitted by the end of September was 8,872.

Applications for residence permits on the basis of family ties are divided into three categories:

  • family members of Finnish citizens
  • family members of other foreign nationals who live in Finland with a residence permit
  • family members of persons who have been granted international protection

Increase in asylum seeker numbers in 2015 affects number of applications based on family ties

The number of applications from family members of persons granted international protection has increased, reflecting the large number of asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in 2015. Between 1 January and 30 September 2017, a total of 24 per cent of all applications on the basis of family ties were submitted by such family members.

Meanwhile, the largest group of family reunification applicants consisted of family members of other foreign nationals who have not been granted international protection. They submitted 49 per cent of all applications on the basis of family ties. The remaining 27 per cent were submitted by family members of Finnish citizens.

Between 1 January and 30 September, the total number of all residence permit applications submitted was 20,062. This includes applications on the basis of work, studies, family ties and other grounds.

Number of Russian applicants decreasing

The number of Russians applying for a residence permit on the basis of family ties has decreased by a third compared to last year. Between 1 January and 30 September 2016, they submitted 1,288 applications. At the end of September this year, the corresponding number was 826. Russians are nonetheless the second largest group submitting residence permit applications on the basis of family ties.

The number of Russians’ first residence permit applications on other grounds has also fallen: their total number was 2,063. In the corresponding period in 2016 it was 3,057.

Effect of income requirement on negative decision numbers still unclear

On 1 July 2016, the income requirement for residence permit applications on the basis of family ties was extended to also apply to old family members of persons who have been granted international or temporary protection. Prior to this, it only applied to new family members. ‘New family members’ refers to families that a sponsor has started after arriving in Finland. ‘Old family members’ refers to the family members a sponsor has already had before arriving in Finland. In the case of quota refugees, it refers to the family members a refugee has had before being accepted to Finland as a quota refugee.

When a person is granted refugee status, his or her old family members may still apply for a residence permit on the basis of family ties without an income requirement. They must, however, submit their applications within three months after the family member living in Finland has been informed of getting asylum or being accepted to Finland as a quota refugee.

The effect of this amendment on the distribution of decisions is still unclear.

Further information for the media

Arja Kallakivi, Head of Section, e-mail: firstname.lastname@migri.fi, tel. +358 295 430 431