Skip to Content

Finnish Immigration Service revises application volume forecasts for 2023 and 2024

Publication date 19.4.2023 12.44

The Finnish Immigration Service has updated its forecasts regarding application volumes for 2023 and 2024. The new estimates concern residence permit applications by students and employed persons. In addition, previous forecasts about the number of applications for temporary protection and asylum have been revised.

The Finnish Immigration Service’s foresight network is a group of experts tasked with preparing quantitative and qualitative forecasts regarding migration to and arrivals of asylum seekers in Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service makes the projections in cooperation with other authorities and interest groups, and is responsible for coordinating the work of the foresight network.

Increase in residence permit application volumes as demand for foreign labour rises

The number of first work-based residence permit applications is projected to reach 19,000 in 2023 and 21,500 in 2024. 

Following a record number of applications submitted in 2022 (20,961 in total), a slight decrease is predicted for this year. Last year's high application volumes were due to the release of built-up demand accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic, as employment-based immigration recovered quickly once restrictions were lifted. 

The volume of first work-based residence permit applications reflects global economic fluctuations, the prevailing labour market conditions in Finland, national action plans designed to support employment-based immigration as well as the development of international recruitment networks. 

“Many industries and businesses are facing serious labour shortages. Meanwhile, the working-age population is shrinking. As a result, the increased need and demand for foreign labour is set to continue in the future,” said Johannes Hirvelä, Director of Development at the Finnish Immigration Service. 

Number of student applicants expected to remain high 

Last year also saw a record number of first residence permit applications submitted by students (9,855 in total). The high figure is estimated to result from students who had begun their studies remotely or deferred the start of their course due to the coronavirus pandemic moving to Finland in 2022. 

While application volumes are projected to decrease slightly in 2023 and 2024, they are expected to remain at a historically high level. The agency expects to receive 8,500 applications this year, and 9,000 applications in 2024. 

The number of first residence permit applications submitted by students depends on factors including the available intake for international degree programmes, the acceptance rate of admission offers, and Finland’s attractiveness as a place to live and study.

Previous temporary protection and asylum projections revised

In January 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service published forecasts regarding applications for temporary protection and asylum. 

According to the foresight network's updated projection, 20,000–30,000 applicants for temporary protection will arrive in Finland from Ukraine this year. This is down from the earlier estimate of 30,000–40,000 applicants. The expert group decided to revise its previous forecast downward as the impact of winter on the movement of Ukrainians to EU countries was less pronounced than expected. The number of applicants for temporary protection in Finland has remained relatively stable since late 2022. 

In line with the projected continuation of the migratory movement in 2024, that year is estimated to see 10,000–15,000 applicants for temporary protection arrive in Finland.  

It is now expected that between 3,500 and 4,500 first-time asylum applicants will arrive in Finland per year in 2023 and 2024. These estimates are underpinned in particular by prolonged conflicts in key countries of origin such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria, as well as the strained refugee situation within transit countries. 

There was a marked increase in the number of asylum applications submitted by Russian nationals after Russia declared a military mobilisation. Following the imposition of entry and visa restrictions in late September 2022, asylum application volumes declined rapidly and have remained low since.

“However, recent years have shown us that our operating environment can change quickly, and that asylum applications are often driven by sudden developments. It is therefore challenging to predict the evolution of application volumes, and we must be prepared for a range of scenarios,” Hirvelä said. 

Further information and media enquiries