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The Finnish Immigration Service reforms its guidelines for the application of law

Publication date 23.2.2023 15.08
Press release

The Finnish Immigration Service is reforming its guidelines for the application of law that impact its decisions. The guidelines for the application of law are used in the decision-making process when the decision-maker cannot find a direct answer to a case under processing in legislation. The guidelines considerably impact the consistency and quality of the decisions made by the Finnish Immigration Service.

The reform of the guidelines promotes the implementation of the Finnish Immigration Service’s new strategy. One of the objectives in line with the new strategy is that the Finnish Immigration Service’s operations should be of good quality, smooth, efficient, predictable and customer-oriented.

Reform focuses on considering the overall situation of the customer

The Finnish Immigration Service has observed that the guidelines for the application of law are numerous and often overlapping. The guidelines may be quite extensive and use complex, challenging language. Moreover, some of the guidelines are very general, requiring excessive levels of interpretation in their application. Therefore, the guidelines in their current form do not sufficiently support the work of the officials making the decisions. Consequently, they do not sufficiently serve the customers’ needs either.

The guidelines will be condensed and clarified. This ensures that, moving forward, the Finnish Immigration Service’s decisions will better take into account the overall situation of the customer and comply with the new strategy of the Finnish Immigration Service.

“It’s important for our customers that the Finnish Immigration Service reforms its guidelines, and I’m happy to see our employees embrace the reforms. We will be able to take immediate, tangible action in the direction defined by our new strategy,” says Director General Ilkka Haahtela.

Stakeholders and employees involved in the guideline reformation

The guidelines will be updated to be more customer-oriented and better support the work of the Finnish Immigration Service’s decision-makers. The reform work will start immediately and the first changes will take effect in the spring and summer of 2023. After this, the development will continue in more detail over the course of the next year.

The reform work will include extensive cooperation with various parties. Inspiration for the new structure of the guidelines has been sought from the Finnish Tax Administration and the Social Insurance Institution (Kela). The customer-oriented approach to the guidelines will be developed with partners such as the Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman and the Finnish Refugee Advice Centre.

“By cooperating with our stakeholders, we can update and refresh our thinking and find new approaches to the ongoing development. At the same time, we are creating valuable cooperation practices that we want to integrate with our operations,” says Deputy Director General Elina Immonen from the Finnish Immigration Service.

The guidelines will also be updated in cooperation with the Finnish Immigration Service’s employees as part of a change management process. As the work progresses, the guidelines’ level of detail, the updating processes and other key functionalities of the guidelines will be specified.

The guidelines will be gradually published on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service at

Media inquiries

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

Press release