New year brings changes to the Ministry of the Interior’s administrative branch
The start of 2023 will see the entry into force of amendments to acts and decrees. This press release provides a summary of the most important changes.
Wellbeing services counties to take over the organisation of rescue services on 1 January
The responsibility for organising rescue services is transferred to wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki on 1 January. These counties and the City of Helsinki will also be responsible for organising healthcare and social welfare in their areas. With the reform, all rescue service personnel will be transferred to the wellbeing services counties on current terms and conditions of employment. Rescue service equipment will also be transferred to the wellbeing services counties.
The rescue services reform is part of the wellbeing services county reform. Rescue services will, however, continue as a separate function working alongside the healthcare and social welfare function. Rescue departments can, in addition to their rescue service duties, continue to provide prehospital emergency medical services and first response services.
The reform will strengthen the role of central government strategic guidance and direction in rescue services. Stronger national guidance and direction will guarantee more harmonised services throughout the country. The change also aims to develop rescue service operations as a national system.
Residence permits to be extended for Ukrainians under temporary protection
A temporary amendment to the Aliens Act will ensure the validity of residence permits issued in Finland to recipients of temporary protection for as long as the temporary protection is in effect in the EU. A person's first residence permit will be issued directly for the entire period of validity of the temporary protection. Moreover, those who have already received residence permits will not need to apply for an extension separately.
The President of the Republic approved the temporary legislative amendment on 29 December, and it will be in force between 19 January 2023 and 4 March 2025.
Legislative amendments to improve status of victims of human trafficking
The status of victims of human trafficking will be improved and their right to services enhanced so that assistance for victims will not depend on the progress of the human trafficking criminal procedure involving them. In future, assistance will primarily be based on an assessment of the victim’s individual situation.
The President of the Republic approved the related legislative amendments on 29 December and they enter into force on 1 January.
More people eligible for long-stay D visas
Amendments to the Aliens Act will expand the use of a long-stay visa known as a D visa. The amendments will contribute to promoting education-based and work-based immigration and streamline entry procedures.
The amendments will enter into force on 22 December, but some of the changes to information systems will not be completed until spring 2023. The application of the amendments will therefore begin in two stages: As soon as the Act enters into force, D visas may be issued to persons in managerial positions in companies and their family members. Starting from 1 April, D visas may be issued to students, researchers and their family members as well as to persons who have lost their residence permit card.
Finnish Immigration Service fees in 2023
The decree on fees charged by the Finnish Immigration Service has been amended to correspond to changes in legislation. The amended decree takes into account the wider target group for long-stay visas and includes a fee for the employer’s certification application.
The fees for citizenship declarations have been raised to better correspond to the Finnish Immigration Service's processing costs. Other fees will remain unchanged.
The decree will enter into force on 22 December and remain in force until the end of 2023.
Finland to take 1,050 resettled refugees
Finland will take 1,050 resettled refugees under the refugee quota. Parliament made a final decision on the refugee quota when it approved the 2023 Budget.
Under the quota, Finland will take 420 Syrian refugees from Lebanon and Turkey, 210 Afghan refugees from Iran and 160 Congolese refugees from Zambia. Finland will also take 130 refugees who have been either evacuated from Libya to Rwanda or who are staying in Libya, and 130 refugees without nationality or regional limitations, including emergency resettlement.
Non-public recruitment to be introduced for certain roles in the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, the National Bureau of Investigation and the local police
In future, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service can fill certain positions without public recruitment if the nature of the role demands it. The National Bureau of Investigation and the local police can follow the same procedure in their recruitment for certain positions. The President of the Republic approved the Act Amending the Act on Police Administration on 20 December. The Act will enter into force on 1 January.
The police to provide executive assistance free of charge to child welfare authorities and in urgent duties referred to in the Social Welfare Act
The police can provide free executive assistance to child welfare authorities in child welfare matters and to social welfare authorities in urgent duties. The legislative amendments aim to increase the protection of particularly vulnerable persons and to safeguard the ability of social welfare authorities to carry out their statutory duties. The Act will enter into force on 1 January.
Police licence fees to remain largely unchanged and fixed fees introduced for decisions on public events
The licence and permit fees charged by the police will remain largely unchanged next year. The fees for decisions on public events have been clarified with two fixed fees for ordinary and demanding public events respectively. From mid-March onwards, the police can issue identity cards with rapid or express delivery if required. The Decree will enter into force on 1 January.
New transaction and processing system to facilitate the management of EU home affairs funds and projects
From January, the EU home affairs funds and projects will be managed in a new information system, aiming to make it easier to apply for support from the EU home affairs funds, to process applications, to manage projects and measures, and to report on these. The electronic information system will also facilitate transactions with the administrative authorities.
The President of the Republic approved the Act Amending the Act on Home Affairs Funds for the Programming Period 2021–2027 on 29 December.
Amendments to the Act on the Making of Decisions Concerning the Provision of and Request for International Assistance
The Act on the Making of Decisions Concerning the Provision of and Request for International Assistance will be amended and its scope of application expanded from international assistance to activities arising from Finland’s national needs without an outside request and involving a Finnish authority acting outside the territory of Finland either independently or in support of another Finnish authority, taking into account the restrictions on the scope of Finnish law that are based on international law.
In addition, sectoral legislation on administrative branches has been revised to enable the provision and reception of international assistance, cooperation and other international activities of the Finnish authorities independently or in support of another authority outside the territory of Finland as comprehensively as possible in the remits of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. As regards the Ministry of the Interior's remit, amendments will be made mainly to the Police Act, the Border Guard Act and the Rescue Act.
The amendments to the Act on the Making of Decisions Concerning the Provision of and Request for International Assistance will enter into force on 1 January. The President of the Republic approved the bill on 29 December.
Kimmo Kohvakka, Director General for Rescue Services, tel. +358 295 488 400, [email protected] (organisation of rescue services)
Janne Koivukoski, Deputy Director General for Rescue Services, tel. +358 295 488 420, ja[email protected] (organisation of rescue services)
Kukka Krüger, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 270, [email protected] (temporary protection)
Berit Kiuru, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 283, [email protected] (trafficking in human beings, D visas)
Katja Kaukonen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 675, [email protected] (Finnish Immigration Service fees)
Mirka Eirola, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 383, [email protected] (refugee quota)
Johanna Hakala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 452, [email protected] (non-public recruitment in the Finnish Security Intelligence Service and the police)
Marja-Leena Härkönen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 297, marja-leena.[email protected] (executive assistance provided by the police)
Johanna Kari, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 662, [email protected] (fees charged by the police))
Nina Routti-Hietala, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 242, nina.rou[email protected] (EU home affairs funds information system)
Tapio Puurunen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 254, [email protected] (legislation on the provision of and requests for international assistance)
Update 29 December: Updated information on legislative amendments confirmed by the President of the Republic on 29 December.