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Finnish Immigration Service reforms organisational structure to enhance ability to address changes in security environment and meet Government Programme targets

Publication date 3.6.2024 11.54
Press release

The Finnish Immigration Service has reformed its organisational structure as of 1 June 2024. The new structure is based on process management and will reinforce the agency’s ability to meet the targets set in the current Government Programme.

With the new organisation, the Finnish Immigration Service will further seamless and controlled immigration, which is one of the targets in the current Government Programme of the Finnish Government. The new organisation enables a process-based approach to the processing of matters in different permit categories. The agency aims to ensure the seamless processing of applications, which will lead to decisions being issued without delay, while preventing abuse of the permit system.

The new organisation will support contingency planning and preparedness in a changed operating environment. As a government agency, the Finnish Immigration Service must, in all circumstances, be able to respond to changes in the security environment and to identify any risks and threats to its operations.

“The reform clarifies roles and responsibilities, which is needed. We are now moving to process-based management to meet the targets that have been established for us. The reform has focused on ensuring that all employees can succeed in their position,” says Director General Ilkka Haahtela.

New members join the agency’s Board of Directors

The new organisation consists of four departments: Permit and Citizenship Department, Department for International Protection, Reception Services Department and Control and Monitoring Department. One new department has been established in connection with the reform. The new Control and Monitoring Department is responsible for post-decision monitoring of residence permits and for permit withdrawal processes. Unit structures have also been altered, for example by combining security matters and contingency planning into one unit, the Security Unit.

Organisation of the Finnish Immigration Service Director General (Ilkka Haahtela) Management Support Internal Audit (Johan Strann) Units: Finance and Administration (Pauli Palvanen) Communications (Klaus Kaartinen) Human Resources (Karoliina Ruuskanen) Security (Jouni Pousi) Information Services and Performance Guidance Digital Services (Tarmo Jukarainen) Customer Relations (Harriet Mallenius) Legal and Specialist Services (Johanna Waal) Departments: Permit and Citizenship (Pauliina Helminen) International Protection (Antti Lehtinen) Reception Services (Elina Nurmi) Control and Monitoring (Tirsa Forssell)

Directors for the new departments have been appointed. Pauliina Helminen, who was previously in charge of the Permit and Nationality Unit, will continue as Director of the Permit and Citizenship Department. Antti Lehtinen, previously in charge of the Asylum Unit, will continue as Director of the Department for International Protection. Elina Nurmi, previously in charge of the Reception Unit, will continue as Director of the Reception Services Department. Tirsa Forssell has been appointed as Director of the Control and Monitoring Department. She will transfer to her new role from the position of Head of Legal Services, which she has held since 2020. Forssell has previously held the position of Head of Legal Service and Country Information Unit at the Finnish Immigration Service and has worked in different roles in the Asylum Unit.

Johanna Waal has been appointed as Director of the Legal and Specialist Services Unit. Waal will transfer to the Finnish Immigration Service from her Tax Director position at the Finnish Tax Administration. The recently appointed Director of the Security Unit is Jouni Pousi. Pousi will transfer to his new role from his position as Head of Preparedness at the Finnish Immigration Service. His previous employers include the National Emergency Supply Agency and the Secretariat of the Security Committee.

Facts: Organisation of the Finnish Immigration Service

  • The Finnish Immigration Service issues permit decisions in matters related to immigration, asylum, refugee status and citizenship and runs the reception system of Finland. 
  • The agency operates under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
  • The Finnish Immigration Service has approximately 1,300 employees.
  • Organisation | Finnish Immigration Service (

Media enquiries

Interview requests: Press and Communications Services of the Finnish Immigration Service:, 0295 433 037

Press release