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Finland to define stricter criteria for immigrants to obtain permanent residency



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The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has launched a project aimed at defining strict criteria for obtaining a permanent residence permit.

The initiative seeks to motivate immigrants in Finland to adhere to Finnish societal norms, engage in employment, and learn the language, highlighting that successful integration is crucial for securing a permanent residence permit.

The project also intends to extend the residency duration required for a permanent residence permit to six years, an increase from the current four-year requirement.

These changes were necessitated by a report on the statistics of the Finnish Immigration Service seen by Nairametrics, which had shown a marked increase in residence permit applications in Finland for the year 2023. The figures include 16,999 work-related first residence permit applications, 12,867 for studies, and a record 21,523 based on family connections.

What the new criteria entail

A future requirement for obtaining a permanent permit will include proficiency in either Finnish or Swedish, demonstrated through a language examination. Additionally, applicants must have a two-year employment history with minimal reliance on unemployment or income support. Also, stricter standards for personal integrity will be applied.

Verification of the applicant’s identity is also mandatory, with an expectation for the applicant to proactively establish their identity.

According to the Finnish government’s program, the six-year residency prerequisite could be waived under certain conditions.

A permanent residence permit may be granted after just four years of residency if the applicant earns at least 40,000 euros annually or possesses a higher education degree obtained or recognized in Finland, along with a two-year employment history with minimal use of income or unemployment support.

Furthermore, the six-year residency requirement may be relaxed for applicants who demonstrate exceptional Finnish or Swedish language skills combined with a three-year work history, without significant dependence on welfare or unemployment benefits.

Tightening family reunification conditions

The Finnish authorities are also making it harder to qualify for family reunification.

In February, the Ministry of Interior announced plans to impose stricter criteria for family reunifications in line with the EU Family Reunification Directive, introducing a new rule in the Finnish Aliens Act requiring the sponsoring spouse to be at least 21 years old.


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