In Finland, the number of residence permits issued on the basis of employment decreased significantly compared to the previous year. However, despite the effects of the pandemic, employment was the most common criterion for applying for a first residence permit, as in the previous year. The total number of residence permit applications submitted on the basis of study also decreased significantly.
“Family was still the most common reason for moving to Finland. The number of asylum seekers coming to Finland decreased significantly in 2020 compared to previous years, most of the asylum applications were later applications, ”says the senior expert. Tuukka Lampi EMN from Finland.
The number of unaccompanied minors increased slightly from the previous year, but this was partly due to the government’s decision to transfer asylum seekers from Greece to Finland. Finnish officers did not make quota selection visits in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even during the pandemic, Finland continued to receive quota refugees and refugee selections were made through remote interviews and on the basis of UNHCR documents.
Iraqis became the largest group of applicants in citizenship applications. Many of the Iraqi and Syrian refugees who arrived in 2015 met the four-year minimum housing requirement, which was reflected in the applicant’s statistics.
Significant improvements in governance
The effects of the pandemic were also reflected in policies, for example in the form of temporary legislative changes and various special arrangements designed to alleviate the situation of both migrants and sectors dependent on migrants.
For example, between 9 April 2020 and 31 October 2020, more flexible provisions were in place regarding the right of third-country nationals to work in key roles in security of supply and the functioning of the labor market.
The administration of labor migration was transferred to the Ministry of Economy and Labor to streamline processing. Since this decision, the Ministry of Economy and Labor has been responsible for immigration policy, legislation and the development of permitting procedures for workers, students and researchers since the beginning of 2020.
In integration policy, the age limit for aftercare was raised to 25 years in order to improve the situation of young asylum seekers.
“A record number of applicants were admitted to the Victims of Trafficking Assistance Scheme. Most of them were victims of forced labor. It is also worth noting that more people were admitted to the assistance system than victims of human trafficking in Finland than abroad. One major political reform was the establishment of a police unit specializing in trafficking-related offenses. The unit is scheduled to start operations this year, ”says Lampi.
The importance of cooperation in the EU was emphasized
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of legal immigrants and asylum seekers entering the EU also decreased significantly in 2020 compared to the previous year. This is reflected in the EU-level summary report published today. EMN is organizing a kick-off seminar, which can be accessed at this link: https://youtu.be/re5c5QL9Hk4
In some countries, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the introduction of new electronic systems and digital tools to support asylum and migration processes, when immigration agencies had to close their doors during restrictions.
The new Pact on Immigration and Asylum, presented by the Commission in 2020, emphasizes the importance of efficient and effective procedures, systems and cooperation in all areas.
Member States also adopted new strategic guidelines and priorities, focusing on, for example, promoting labor market integration. New forms of strategic cooperation were created with third countries to improve legal routes and prevent illegal immigration.
With regard to legislation and EU policy, special attention was paid to the protection of asylum seekers and refugees, in particular minors and other vulnerable groups.
Source: European Migration Network
Source: The Nordic Page