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An increasing number of specialists choose to move to Finland

Publication date 5.9.2022 11.00

This year, the Finnish Immigration Service has seen a clear increase in the number of residence permit applications submitted by specialists. In January–July, international specialists submitted 1,627 first residence permit applications, which amounts to approximately a thousand applications more than in the corresponding period last year (January–July 2021: 621).

Specialists, in this context, include, among others, IT experts and employees with an academic degree, whose work in Finland requires special expertise. A first residence permit is the permit a person applies for before moving to Finland for the first time.

The number of incoming applications from specialists reached a peak in June when 345 applications were submitted. Compared to May, the number of applications increased by 56 per cent. 

Specialists have been moving to Finland in particular from Russia, India and China. In recent years, the most common countries of origin have remained the same. The Finnish Immigration Service estimates that one factor behind the number of applications submitted by Russian citizens this year is that employees of Finnish companies have moved to Finland to work here.

“This year, the number of specialists moving to Finland is record-high. Last year's figures were exceeded already in July, and more applications keep coming in. We at the Finnish Immigration Service are pleased to say that despite the huge increase in incoming applications, we have been able to grant the residence permits within less than two weeks, often in an even shorter time. Behind this success are our continuous efforts to improve our processes by, for instance, increasing digitalisation,” says Deputy Director Elina Immonen.

Fast track to working in Finland

This year, the average processing time of residence permit applications for specialists has been nine days. One factor behind the faster processing of applications are the improvements in automation, which is an important tool for speeding up the permit processing.

“To achieve shorter processing times, we have also had to widely develop and improve our working methods. This is something our staff has been very active in advancing,” says Kaj Swanljung, Head of the Branch for Work and Studies.

Since the beginning of June, specialists, start-up entrepreneurs and their family members have been able to apply for a residence permit using the fast-track service provided for these applications. The fast-track service is the fastest way to move to Finland. Its service pledge is to decide a residence permit application within a maximum of 14 days of submission, and the applicant can move to Finland immediately after a decision has been issued.

In order to move to Finland using the fast-track service, the customer must submit and pay for the application online as well as prove their identity at a service point abroad within five working days. To make the permit process predictable and transparent for the customer, customers and their employers are instructed, among other methods, with the help of frequent automated messages.

“Customers’ views are an important development tool for us. We are asking customers who use the fast-track service when moving to Finland to provide feedback on the process. Their feedback will be used to make improvements in the fast-track service. Now in the early stages, the feedback we have received has been very positive. Most customers have experienced the fast-track service as easy and fluent,” Swanljung says.

Immigration of international professionals and their permit processes are improved in cooperation with several actors. The Finnish Immigration Service has worked on the fast-track service together with, among others, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, Business Finland, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. All authorities participating in the fast-track scheme are committed to the 14-day service pledge.

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Media inquiries

Elina Immonen, Deputy Director General, Acting Director General, tel. 0295 433 037, email: