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Residence permit for a specialist now takes an average of two weeks

Publication date 28.12.2020 9.39

The Finnish Immigration Service has managed to speed up the processing of residence permits for specialists. In July-November 2020, the Finnish Immigration Service processed the first residence permit for a specialist in 17 days on average, and one half of the decisions concerning specialists were made within 10 days.

Last year, it took on average 45 days for a specialist to receive their first residence permit, and one half of these decisions were made within 46 days (median).

A specialist is a person who comes to Finland to work in expert tasks that require special competence. They include IT experts and specialists with a higher education degree who come to work in a job requiring particular professional skills.

In addition to a higher education degree, a specialist must also have a higher than average salary, or at minimum EUR 3,000 a month. Unlike a residence permit for an employed person, labour market testing is not relevant to the residence permit for a specialist.

If the specialist has arrived in Finland with a visa or visa-free and submitted an application for a residence permit for a specialist in this country, they can start working while their application is still pending. In these cases, the right to work without a residence permit ends after three months at the latest, or even earlier if the visa expires.

Application numbers influenced by the pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of residence permit applications for specialists has dropped considerably. In January–November 2020, specialists lodged 781 applications for a first residence permit, and 826 residence permits were issued to them. A total of 842 decisions were made (16 refusals). Decisions have also been issued this year on applications submitted the year before.

In January–November 2019, specialists lodged 1,677 applications for a first residence permit, and 1,791 residence permits were issued to them. A total of 1,801 decisions were made.

To examine the Finnish Immigration Service’s statistics, visit our statistical service at

Cooperation and automation

The Finnish Immigration Service aims to streamline the processing of residence permits for specialists and other work-based permits further. As we make efforts to improve our work flow, we engage in active discussions with our stakeholders and customers on their needs.

Deployment of automation is an important part of these development efforts. Automation is currently used especially for processing extended permits for specialists.

“The plan is to use automation even more extensively in handling residence permits for specialists. While we are continuously making progress in this work, such a large project also has its challenges, as the conditions of automation must be specified accurately”, explains Head of Branch Anna Hyppönen.

The Finnish Immigration Service uses partial automation to make decisions, as the legislation does not currently permit fully automated decision-making processes. The partial automation system verifies that the criteria for granting a residence permit are met and automatically produces a proposal for a decision, which a human processor checks and confirms.

Read Director General Jari Kähkönen’s blog post: The challenges of immigration of highly qualified workers are addressed rapidly (only in Finnish)

Further information for the media 

Anna Hyppönen, Head of Branch, email:, tel. +358 295 433 037

Press release