Government proposes streamlining extension of temporary protection for Ukrainians
A temporary amendment to the Aliens Act would ensure the validity of residence permits issued in Finland to recipients of temporary protection for as longs as the temporary protection is in effect in the EU. With the amendment, first residence permits would be issued directly for the entire period of validity of the temporary protection. Moreover, those who have already received residence permits would not need to apply for an extension separately. The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 3 November.
Holders of residence permits can prove their right of residence with a residence permit card. With the amendment, the validity of the residence permit cards of those receiving temporary protection would also be extended for the duration of the residence permit. If they so wish, holders of residence permits could apply to the Finnish Immigration Service for a new card with updated information on the validity of the permit and card, for example for travel purposes.
“Millions of people have lost their homes as a result of Russia’s ruthless war of aggression against Ukraine. It is our duty to support Ukraine and help the war refugees who have arrived in Finland. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the war, and because of this, the need for assistance will continue for a long time. The official processes must be smooth when it comes to providing assistance. From the viewpoint of both the people enjoying temporary protection and the Finnish Immigration Service, the most clear-cut solution is to ensure the validity of residence permits for the duration of the temporary protection, without any separate application procedure,” says Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen.
Ensuring the validity of residence permits for the duration of protection is the most clear-cut solution
The temporary protection currently in place in the EU lasts for one year from the entry into force of the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382, i.e. until 4 March 2023. After that, the temporary protection will be extended automatically for another year, unless the Council decides to end it. The Council may also decide to extend the temporary protection for an additional year. Under the Temporary Protection Directive, the total duration may not exceed three years.
While the decision is in force, Finland and all other EU Member States are obligated to grant temporary protection to the group specified in the decision and to issue a residence permit to indicate it. Finland has issued residence permits on the basis of temporary protection to about 41,000 people who have fled Ukraine. The number is expected to reach approximately 48,000 by the end of the year. These residence permits are set to expire on 4 March 2023.
Currently, the Aliens Act requires that a separate application be filed for a new residence permit. This would mean that people who have received residence permits on the basis of temporary protection would have to file separate applications to the Finnish Immigration Service in order to extend their permits.
The temporary amendment to the Aliens Act is scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible. It would remain in force until 4 March 2025.
Kukka Krüger, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 270, [email protected]
Tuuli Tuunanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 658, [email protected]
Mikko Jalo, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 304 8522, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)