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Work-based first residence permits are approved faster than before – development work continues

Publication date 10.5.2021 10.58

The median processing time for work-based residence permits was halved between January and March compared to processing times in 2020. For example, half of the specialists, start-up entrepreneurs and researchers currently receive their first residence permit in two weeks or under.

The median processing time for all work-based first residence permits was 37 days between January and March of this year. In 2020, the median processing time was 70 days. The median processing time means that half of the applicants have received their decision in 37 days or under. There are many different types of work-based residence permits and their processing times vary.

Most of the work-based first residence permit applications are for a residence permit for an employed person. This permit is for chefs, cleaners and construction workers, for example. An employee's permit of residence is issued in two stages. In the first stage, the Employment and Economic Development Office gives a partial decision and establishes whether the employment is temporary or permanent, and whether there is an available labour force within a reasonable time in Finland or within the EU/EEA for the work in question. In the second stage, the Finnish Immigration Service makes its decision. 

In 2020, a record number of first residence permit applications for employed persons was accepted, in total 4,504 applications (2019: 3,827). The median processing time of the permit in 2020 was 107 days. This year, the median processing time between January and March was 57 days.

“We have had several new employees starting in January–March, and although training these employees takes time, the positive impact of the new recruitments has already been reflected in the number of decisions processed”, says Anna Hyppönen, Head of Branch.

The target processing time for employees’ residence permits by 2023 is one month.

“Increasing automatic processing is one of the main ways of achieving shorter processing times. Our aim is also to continue the reorganisation and development of our work. This makes our decision-making processes more efficient”, says Hyppönen.

Specialists’ applications are already processed in the target time

The target of the Finnish Immigration Service for this year is to process specialists’, start-up entrepreneurs’ and their family members’ applications in two weeks. 

The median processing time for the first residence permit for specialists between January and March this year was 15 days (2020: 14 days). The median processing time for the first residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs between January and March this year was 14 days, the same as in 2020. The median processing time for the first residence permit for researchers between January and March this year was 14 days (2020: 16 days).

“The situation in the processing of the applications of top-level experts is good. The processing of specialists’ first residence permit is already partly automated and the development work in this area continues. We will also introduce a fast track service, which means a faster than usual application service for specialists and start-up entrepreneurs”, Hyppönen says.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of specialists’ residence permit applications has decreased substantially. Last year, the number of specialists applying for a first residence permit was 853 (2019: 1,791). In January–March 2021, the first residence permit application was submitted by 279 specialists. 

Specialists include IT specialists and employees with university degrees who arrive in Finland for employment that requires highly skilled professional workforce.

The results of the development work will be widely utilised

The most common reasons for people moving to Finland are work, family and studies. While the processing times for work-based residence permits have become shorter, the processing of certain permits is experiencing a backlog. 

“The main development measures are now focused on the processing of employees’ and students’ residence permits. The results of this development work will also be utilised, as applicable, in the processing of other applications”, Hyppönen says.        

Read more about the decision statistics of the Finnish Immigration Services at

Further information to the media:

Anna Hyppönen, Head of Branch, Permit and Nationality Unit, resident permits for employed persons and students tel. +358 (0)295 433037, e-mail:

Press release