Finland to facilitate granting of residence permits to foreign investors, entrepreneurs and leading experts
This is an English translation of a press release published originally in Finnish on 26 April 2016.
The Government wants to attract foreign investors, entrepreneurs and leading experts to Finland. The Ministry of the Interior has launched a project to reform the residence permit system for investors, entrepreneurs and experts coming from third countries. The reform is necessary because the Finnish and European business world has changed. Today, instead of large companies, the majority of new jobs are created by small and medium-sized growth companies in the field of technology and innovation.
- New growth companies operate in a fast-moving environment with severe international competition for capital and experts. We must not fall behind other countries. This is also about us being competitive, says Minister of the Interior Petteri Orpo.
Residence permits for investors common in many countries
Legislation on residence permits has been revised in many countries to attract foreign investors, growth entrepreneurs and experts. The Finnish legislation does not currently allow residence permits to be granted on the basis of investment in Finland. The residence permit system for self-employed persons also has its weaknesses.
A wide range of business actors will be consulted during the project. The aim is to create a well-functioning model to meet the needs as effectively as possible.
Best options to be explored to facilitate immigration for growth entrepreneurs
The project will establish the best way to facilitate the immigration process for foreign growth entrepreneurs irrespective of their company form. The aim is to make it possible to grant a residence permit to people investing in companies based in Finland. The project will also streamline and clarify the residence permit system for experts to be employed by companies.
Granting a residence permit based on investment in Finland would not mean a 'fast lane' for wealthy applicants. In practice, it would mean that third-country nationals investing in Finland would also be able to live in the country. It is currently not possible to be issued with a residence permit on the basis of investment only, but the applicant must also have a job or family members in Finland.
No further details concerning the system have been decided yet. A decision is also to be made on the types of investment on the basis of which a residence permit may be granted.
Besides streamlining the residence permit system, the project will focus on preventing any abuses of the system and ensuring that the background of applicants is checked as thoroughly as possible.
Implementation of government policies to support entrepreneurship and employment
This project is related to the objectives to support entrepreneurship, economic growth and employment set in Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's Government Programme. It is included in the Government's key project to strengthen competitiveness.
- Because of the asylum crisis, the debate on immigration has been too narrow. In fact, most people immigrate because of work or studies. We want to attract leading experts to Finland and make it simple for them to stay here, sums up Mr Orpo.
The project runs from 13 April 2016 to 1 December 2017. Its report will be included in a government proposal to be submitted to Parliament in late 2017.
Elina Immonen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 593, [email protected]