Finnish Immigration Service in 2017: More decisions than the previous year made in almost all applicant groups

13.3.2018 12.03
Press release

The number of residence permit applications submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service has clearly risen during the last two years. In 2017, a total of 122,957 matters (2016: 86,686; 2015: 90,721) were submitted to the agency. The number of submitted matters increased because the permit matters of foreign nationals previously handled by the police, such as the processing of extended permit applications and the registration of the right of residence of EU citizens, were transferred to the Finnish Immigration Service at the beginning of 2017.

On 1 January 2017, in addition to the new permit matters, the agency also took over the reception centres in Joutseno and Oulu.

About 35 per cent more decisions on international protection, residence permits and citizenship were made than the previous year. The processing of the matters which were transferred from the police to the agency also increased the number of decisions.

A total of 124,770 decisions were made at the agency (2016: 92,742). In addition, a total of 11,016 persons received a decision on their application for an alien’s passport or a refugee travel document.

In 2017, the agency continued to process the asylum applications that had accumulated during the autumn of 2015 and during 2016. Applications that were submitted in 2015 were, with the exception of isolated cases, processed by the end of October 2017. About 450 of the applications that were submitted in 2016 still waited for a decision at the end of 2017. A total of 9,418 asylum decisions were made in 2017*.

The number of new asylum applications was historically low: 2,173. A total of 1,854 subsequent applications were made, and 1,061 asylum seekers arrived in Finland under the EU relocation scheme. A total of 5,060 persons applied for asylum.

A total of 85,218 (2016: 23,592) residence permit applications were made.

In recent years, the number of decisions on citizenship matters has increased over 20 per cent yearly. In 2017, a total of 10,704 new citizenship applications were submitted and a total of 14,149 decisions were made.

Costs generated by reception of asylum seekers went down

As the number of asylum seekers dropped significantly in 2017, the costs generated by reception also decreased. During 2017, the number of asylum seekers within the reception system decreased with a third, from about 19,300 persons to about 13,300 persons. The costs were 282 million euros, when they the previous year still were 619 million.

The operations of the reception system were still characterised by heavy adjustment. Reception centres were closed and the capacity of still operational centres reduced: at the beginning of the year about 16,700 beds were available and at the end of the year about 10,200 beds. At the beginning of the year, 77 reception centres were operational and at the end of the year 48. The number of units for unaccompanied minors decreased from 49 to 8 during 2017.

The goal set for the national average cost of accommodation per day was clearly undercut in 2017: the average cost was about 55 euros per day (including VAT), when the goal was 60 euros per day. The average cost went down to approximately the same level as before 2015. The average cost includes all costs of the reception centres, such as rent of facilities and property maintenance, employees’ salaries, material costs and services, as well as the reception allowance which is paid to the residents.

During 2017, the agency completed a pilot tendering of reception centre operations for adults and families in the Uusimaa region. This led to the establishment of a new reception centre in Raseborg. The tendering model will be refined according to the acquired experiences and it will be extended to apply to the whole country in 2018.

The annual report of the Finnish Immigration Service has been published on the agency’s website.

*Correction made 14.3.2018: A total of 9,418 asylum decisions were made in 2017, not 15,349.

Further information for the media

  • Matters regarding the annual report and financial statements
    Pernilla Wasström, Director of Finance,
    tel. +358 295 430 431,
  • Matters regarding reception
    Pekka Nuutinen, Director of Reception Unit,
    tel. +358 295 430 431,
Press release