Migration Review: Significance of labour migration increases

Ministry of the Interior 22.5.2018 10.25 | Published in English on 22.5.2018 at 16.00
Press release 56/2018
Kuva: Riku Isohella

A new Migration Review has been published. The Review discusses labour migration developments in the light of statistics, the latest legislative changes that have facilitated work permit processes, the progress made in the reform of the Common European Asylum System by the EU and the latest trends in the asylum situation.

The focus of the Government’s migration policy has shifted to the promotion of labour migration. The Government outlined the measures for promoting labour migration in its new Migration Policy Programme published in January 2018. At the same time, the number of new asylum seekers in 2017–2018 has fallen to a fraction of what it was in 2015–2016.

During the past four years, the number of residence permits for employed persons has been growing, and it seems that this growth will continue thanks to the recovering economy. Last year, the number of work-based residence permits grew by one third from the level seen in 2013 and 2014. Smooth permit procedures play a significant role in attracting international talents and workers to Finland.

The Finnish Immigration Service aims to streamline decision-making and to better meet the objectives set for processing times. Another aim is to increase the utilisation rate of e-services to 50%. In 2018, the Finnish Immigration Service intends to introduce a procedure which will make it much simpler to apply for an extended permit. This means that after having logged into the service by using electronic identification applicants will get a pre-completed form which is based on the information provided earlier.

"At the same time, we are preparing to transfer the permit procedures which are based on simple register checks to a fully automated decision-making process. The Tax Administration, for example, has used an automated tax-decision process already for years," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.

A new type of residence permit was introduced for startup or growth entrepreneurs in April 2018. The legislative changes concerning intra-corporate transferees and seasonal workers also entered into force at the beginning of the year. If the recent legislative proposal on students and researchers is adopted, residence permits for students and researchers will be extended and steps will be taken to encourage job seeking and entrepreneurship. The reform of the Blue Card Directive concerning highly qualified workers is also progressing at EU level.

"Additional efforts will be made to streamline the work permit process in order to succeed in the competition for international talents and workers. E-services provided by the Finnish Immigration Service are a good example of an innovative approach to improving the efficiency of activities," says Minister Mykkänen.

Reform of the Common European Asylum System is a top priority for the EU

The refugee crisis in 2015 showed that the asylum systems of EU countries are still not harmonised enough. Progress has, however, been made in the negotiations on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), although some of the key issues, such as solidarity and burden sharing under the Dublin Regulation, still remain unsolved. The aim is to have the whole legislative package adopted before the next elections to the European Parliament in 2019.

The returns of those who have been refused asylum have become a central theme throughout the EU. At the moment, only a fraction of the people who are not allowed to reside in the EU can be returned to their country of origin. The EU is taking a number of different measures in an attempt to increase the return rate.

In Finland, the submission of a new asylum application after receiving a final decision on the previous application became a new trend among asylum seekers last year. In early 2018, such applications accounted for more than half of all asylum applications made in Finland.

The Migration Review brings together current migration issues from the perspective of policy formulation and legislation. The Review is published once or twice a year, and it is compiled by the Ministry of the Interior’s Migration Department.

Migration Review 1/2018 (in Finnish)


Jorma Vuorio, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 600, [email protected]

Anna Rundgren, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 210, [email protected]