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Amendments to the Aliens Act enable more efficient services for employees and employers

Publication date 23.2.2023 13.58

Chapter 5 of the Aliens Act will be amended today, 23 February 2023. The amendment will particularly affect those applying for a residence permit on the basis of work and their employers. In practice, the changes will make the application and decision-making process of residence permits issued on the basis of work easier.

Permits in line with the amendment will be issued from 23 February onwards. Pending applications will be processed according to the new act, even if they were lodged before the act entered into force.

“The amendment is important as it will enable us to make decisions faster and offer our customers more efficient services,” says Deputy Director General Elina Immonen.

Amendment supports the goal of one-month processing time

The amendment stems from a more extensive concept aiming to cut the processing time of work-based permits down to an average of one month. The changes to Chapter 5 of the act support previous measures designed to expedite processing. The new provisions also enable more extensive use of automation. For quick processing, the applicant and the employer should primarily use online services for the application process. 

The act will also be harmonised; now, a valid travel document at the time of decision-making is also sufficient for first permits. In other words, the period of validity of the customer’s travel document will no longer affect the duration of the permit.

Easier application process for customers in the Enter Finland online service

Due to the amendment and the development of the Finnish Immigration Service’s processes and the digital Enter Finland service, applying for a residence permit will now be easier for employed persons.

When a customer applies for a residence permit for an employed person, they first fill in an application in the Enter Finland online service that has been updated to offer better instructions. The system will now be able to ask for the necessary information and the correct attachments to the application and instruct the customer to answer questions that are relevant to the application. The system will also ensure that the application includes all the required information and will not let the customer lodge incomplete applications.

Once the customer has filled in and paid for their residence permit application in Enter Finland, their employer provides additional information to the application in Enter Finland for Employers. The service also instructs the employer, which always needs to fill in the terms of employment in the residence permit application.

More responsibility for the employer

The amendment clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the customers, employer and the Finnish Immigration Service in applications based on work. The employer will have more responsibility concerning the application. The new principle is that the employer will have checked the competence and professional skills of the employee and the employee will not need to prove them again to the Finnish Immigration Service. The employee will not be required to deliver as many attachments to the Finnish Immigration Service as before.

Special attention will now be paid to the appropriateness of the terms of employment from the beginning of the application process. The processing of the application will not start until the employer has filled in the terms of employment and any other employer-related attachments in the residence permit application based on work. 

Once the residence permit application for an employed person is complete, the customer who lodged the application must visit a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate) to prove their identity and provide fingerprints. 

The employer will also be able to apply for a certification for their business. The certification includes an assessment of the employer’s ability to act as an employer, which means that this will no longer be checked when lodging a residence permit application for an employed person. The first certification is issued for two years. A certified employer will not need to report the information of their business separately in each employee’s application. The price of certification is EUR 140 for online applications and EUR 195 for paper applications.

The Finnish Immigration Service wants to make moving to Finland as easy as possible

The number of residence permit applications has increased year by year, and more and more people move to Finland for work, family or studies. International workers, students and researchers are an important asset for innovation and growth in Finland. 

“As the international competition for labour is fierce, moving to Finland for work and studies must be made fast and easy,” says Immonen.

Last year, work was the most common reason for a positive first residence permit decision (16,081 decisions). First residence permit refers to the permit for which immigrants usually apply abroad before moving to Finland.

In recent years, the processing times of work-based residence permits have become considerably shorter even though the numbers of decisions have increased. In 2019, for example, the average processing time for all applications for a first residence permit on the basis of work was 110 days (median 64 days), whereas in 2022, the corresponding figure was 62 days (median 36 days).

The new amendment does not apply to specialists who can use the fast track when moving to Finland. Their residence permits are processed in a maximum of two weeks.

Media enquiries

Elina Immonen, Deputy Director General, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, e-mail: