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Immigration statistics 2019: A record-high number of employees applied for a residence permit

20.1.2020 8.10
Press release

Last year, work replaced family as the most common basis for applying for the first residence permit. A total of 12,687 residence permit applications were submitted on the basis of work in 2019 (2018: 10,805).

Almost half of the applications concerned an employee’s residence permit, which includes consideration related to availability by the TE office before Finnish Immigration Service’s decision (2019: 6,270, 2018: 5,791). The number of applications also increased in almost all other work-related permit types, such as permits for special experts (2019: 1,791, 2018: 1,536).

The growth can also be accounted to the new permit types for seasonal work introduced in 2018. A total of 2,051 residence permit applications were submitted for seasonal work (2018: 1,055). In addition to residence permits, 9,940 seasonal work certificates intended for seasonal work lasting less than three months were granted (2018: 6,839).

All in all, the number of residence permit applications increased by 4,936 from 2018. A total of 71,317 persons applied for a residence permit (2018: 66,381). In addition to work, a residence permit can be applied for on the basis of family ties or studying, for example.

Small number of new asylum seekers

A total of 4,550 asylum applications were submitted last year, of which 2,467 were by new asylum seekers. Before 2015, when more than 32,000 asylum seekers arrived in Finland, the number of applicants was quite stable, numbering 3,000-4,000 individuals year.

Changes have also taken place in the asylum seekers’ countries of origin. Most of the new asylum seekers last year arrived from Turkey and Russia.

‘Most of the Turkish applicants referred to the real or assumed membership in the Gülen movement and the resulting threat imposed on them. A large number of Jehovah’s Witnesses have arrived from Russia in the last few years, but there were many kinds of application criteria last year,’ says Antti Lehtinen, Director of the Asylum Unit.

Autumn 2015 still shows in asylum applications. Of the asylum applications submitted last year, 2,083 were re-applications. A re-application is an asylum application submitted by an asylum seeker after having received a legal decision for at least one of their asylum applications.

‘Iraqis still show as the largest application group in statistics, though the number of new asylum seekers from Iraq is now relatively small,’ says Lehtinen.

The asylum seekers arriving in 2015 applied for Finnish citizenship and a permanent residence permit

The asylum seekers who arrived in Finland in autumn 2015 and received international protection can now apply for Finnish citizenship or a permanent residence permit. The residence period obligation for an asylum seeker receiving international protection is four years in both cases.

‘In particular, the number of citizenship applications submitted by the Iraqis is clearly increasing. A total of 1,588 Iraqi citizens applied for Finnish citizenship in 2019, as compared with 972 in 2018,’ says Heikki Taskinen, Director of the Nationality Unit.

Last year, Finnish citizenship was granted to a total of 10,062 individuals (2018: 9,610).

3,248 Iraqi citizens applied for a permanent residence permit (2018: 735). A permanent residence permit was applied for 11,699 times (2018: 8,593).

Brexit showed in the registration of EU citizens

A total of 10,051 EU citizens applied for the registration of their right of residence last year (2018: 10,291). Of the applicants, 1,158 were citizens of Great Britain (2018: 660). The registrations of British citizens have almost doubled in one year. They were the second largest applicant group in EU registrations.

"British citizens were advised to register throughout the year. The separate law that entered into force last spring allows British citizens to stay in Finland with EU citizens’ rights until the end of 2020," says Tiina Suominen, Director, Immigration Unit.

A total of 8,533 EU citizens were registered last year (2018: 8,749). A clear majority of the EU citizens who moved to Finland were again Estonians (2019: 1,649, 2018: 2,070), and most of the registrations were based on work (3,865).

Deportation decisions on the rise

1,839 deportation decisions based on illegal residence were made last year (2018: 997). Most of the deportation decisions based on illegal residence concerned Uzbekistan citizens (2019: 331, 2018: 10).

A total of 124 deportation decisions were based on crime (2018: 95).

More annual statistics on the migri.fi website

Confirmed statistics for 2019 can be found in our statistics service tilastot.migri.fi. Statistics from 2015 and earlier can be found in .pdf format at the address migri.fi/en/statistics

Further information for the media

  • Immigration statistics: Tiina Suominen, Director of the Immigration Unit, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, email [email protected]
  • Asylum statistics: Antti Lehtinen, Director of the Asylum Unit, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, email [email protected]
  • Citizenship statistics: Heikki Taskinen, Director of the Nationality Unit, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, email [email protected]
  • Other questions related to statistics: Finnish Immigration Service, Press and Communications Services, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, email: [email protected]