Ministry of the Interior prepares special act to ensure smooth extension of temporary protection for Ukrainians
A special act prepared by the Ministry of the Interior would lay down provisions whereby the validity of residence permits issued by Finland on the basis of temporary protection would be extended automatically under the act for the duration of temporary protection in the EU. This would mean that people would not need to apply for extension of their residence permit separately. A residence permit card is issued to indicate a residence permit, and various options for the practical implementation of the card will be assessed during law drafting.
The Ministry of the Interior has set up a legislative project for the period 12 September 2022–31 March 2023 to prepare the special act. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session 2022.
“Unfortunately, it seems that the war in Ukraine will continue for a long time. This means that the need for assistance will also continue. It is our duty to stand with Ukraine and help the war refugees who have arrived in Finland,” says Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen.
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, 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 up to one more 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 a residence permit to indicate it. Finland has issued residence permits on the basis of temporary protection to about 37,000 people who have fled Ukraine. It is estimated that the number will be approximately 48,000 by the end of the year. These residence permits will 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 those who have been issued with a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection would have to submit an application for an extended permit to the Finnish Immigration Service. Extending the residence permit automatically is the most clear-cut solution both from the viewpoint of the Finnish Immigration Service and people enjoying temporary protection.