The war in Ukraine had a large impact on immigration to Finland

The war in Ukraine had a large impact on immigration to Finland

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine affected immigration to Finland in many ways. In addition to temporary protection, its effect was seen, for example, in the number of experts and seasonal workers,” said the CEO. Ilkka Haahtela.

Temporary protection mechanism activated for the first time

Finland grants temporary protection to those fleeing Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. The European Union introduced the temporary protection mechanism on March 4, 2022, which is the first time that the Temporary Protection Directive has been used. Consequently, last year Finland also granted a residence permit based on temporary protection for the first time.

Temporary protection differs from asylum, as the former can be granted to a certain group of people without the applicant’s need for protection being separately considered. Last year, 47,302 applications for temporary protection were submitted in Finland, of which 45,308 applicants received protection. Of all applicants for temporary protection, 46,641 were Ukrainians.

The number of asylum applications was 5,827 (2,545 in 2021), of which 1,805 were submitted by Ukrainians. Ukrainians applied for asylum in the spring before the introduction of temporary protection, but submitted virtually no asylum applications later in the year. Most of those who applied for asylum at the beginning of 2022 applied for temporary protection later.

The increase in the total number of asylum seekers is primarily explained by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has led to an increase in asylum seekers from both Ukrainians and Russians. Last year, Russians filed 1,172 asylum applications, compared to 207 in 2021. The number of Russian applications rose markedly in the spring after the start of the war, and another, even stronger, rise in Russia’s declared military mobilization. in September.

The arrival of Ukraine to Finland is expected to continue in 2023

The validity of temporary protection residence permits granted to those fleeing Ukraine this year will be automatically extended until March 4, 2024. Generally, a residence permit holder who wants to extend his permit must submit an application. After the legislative change, 42,433 temporary protection residence permit decisions have been made with the help of automation in five days.

“We have been able to extend the permits of those who fled Ukraine without requiring them to take any action,” Haahtela said.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine will continue to affect those arriving in Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service estimates that approximately 30,000–40,000 applicants for temporary protection will arrive in Finland in 2023.

It is difficult to predict how the war in Ukraine and the number of people fleeing it will develop.

“The number of Ukrainians seeking protection in Finland depends, among other things, on the duration and scope of the war, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, the strain on the absorption capacity of Ukraine’s neighboring countries and the Baltic countries, and the movement. of Ukrainians between EU countries”, explained Haahtela.

It is estimated that Russian citizens will submit 1,000–1,500 first asylum applications this year. The number of asylum seekers depends on several factors, such as the entry and visa restrictions imposed by Finland, the application of asylum by Russian citizens who have already entered the country with a visa, the internal situation in Russia, and Russia’s actions. border authorities.

In total, an estimated 4,000 first asylum applications will be submitted in 2023, compared to 4,863 last year.

Work-related immigration was also affected by Russia’s attack on Ukraine

Last year, work was the most common reason for positive decisions on first residence permit applications (2022: 16,081, 2021: 11,428). The first residence permits are typically permits applied for from abroad before the applicant moves to Finland.

There are different types of work-based residence permits depending on the work the holder does in Finland. Almost half of the positive decisions made on the first work permits concerned the employee’s residence permits, which requires labor market testing by the Employment and Economic Affairs Office before the Immigration Office makes a decision (2022: 9,671, 2021: 5,929).

“Employees move to Finland to work in cleaning, nursing, restaurants and other fields,” said the deputy general manager. Elina Immonen.

Specialists, such as IT specialists, received a total of 2,358 positive residence permit decisions (2021: 1,293). The most common countries of origin for experts were Russia, India and Turkey. Finnish companies withdrew from Russia, which was reflected in the increase in the number of permits granted to Russian experts (2022: 874, 2021: 191).

– Pikapalvelu, aimed at experts and starting entrepreneurs, was launched in June and later expanded to include supervisors. A distinctive feature of the expedited service is the two-week service promise, which involves several authorities and covers the process from visiting the Finnish embassy or consulate to arriving in Finland,” said Immonen.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine also affected the number of seasonal workers. Most of the seasonal workers are Ukrainians who come to Finland every year with a seasonal work certificate. Last year, a total of 5,264 seasonal work certificates were issued, compared to 13,870 in 2021. However, this figure cannot be fully taken into account in the number of seasonal farm workers, as Ukrainians who have received temporary protection have unlimited work rights. .

Other common reasons for moving to Finland are family (2022: 15,457 positive decisions, 2021: 9,821) and studies (2022: 8,383, 2021: 5,837).

“Most of the family members who moved to Finland last year were children and spouses of foreigners working in Finland,” Immonen explained.

The number of applications is increasing

In 2022, a total of 20,960 first residence permit applications received on the basis of work were submitted, while in 2021 there were 15,012. The Finnish Immigration Service received 13,534 residence permit applications for employees (2021: 8,529) and experts 2,594 first residence permit applications (2021: 1,605).

The number of first residence permit applications based on family ties (2022: 18,981, 2021: 13,764) and studies (2022: 9,855, 2021: 6,711) also increased. A total of 50,728 first residence permit applications were submitted (2021: 36,206).

The Finnish Immigration Service aims for the best immigration experience in Europe

“The Finnish Immigration Service will undergo significant reforms in 2023. The goal is to speed up the agency’s operations and increase customer orientation,” Immonen said.

The total number of applications for the first work-based residence permit increased by 40 percent last year, but the processing time had little effect. For example, the number of applications from experts increased by 60 percent in 2022, but processing times decreased by 36 percent. Last year, the first specialist licenses were issued in an average of nine days, compared to 15 days in 2021. The number of first-time residence permit applications for starting entrepreneurs increased by 96 percent (290 in 2022, 148 in 2021). Decisions were available in 13 days (24 days in 2021), which represents a 46 percent reduction in processing times.

“This year, we will continue to invest in automation and online services to make the residence permit process more efficient and customer-friendly,” said Immonen.

Labor from EU countries

In 2022, EU citizens submitted a total of 10,166 registration applications (12,465 in 2021). The majority of EU citizens apply for registration based on work (2022: 4,256, 2021: 5,905).

Last year, 10,183 EU citizens confirmed their right of residence in Finland (2021: 11,190). 4,270 of them were registered based on work (2021: 5,333). The most common nationalities of those registered were Estonian, German and Latvian.

10,000 new Finnish citizens

Many also wanted to continue living in Finland. A total of 34,136 extension license applications were submitted in 2022 (2021: 30,930), of which 28,665 (2021: 30,623) were granted. Extended permits were applied for and granted most often on the basis of work. Extension permits are residence permits that can be applied for by those who have already lived in Finland as a residence permit holder.

Permanent residence permits were granted to a total of 11,352 persons (2021: 11,563).

Finland received 10,479 new citizens, of which 9,509 received citizenship by application (2021: 6,070) and 970 by notification (2021: 1,515).

More statistics available at website

Confirmed statistics for 2022 are available in our statistics service at For instructions on using the statistical service and statistics from 2015 and previous years in PDF format, see Statistics page at Also available are refugee quota statistics and application volume forecasts for the years 2023 and 2024.


Source: Finnish Immigration Service

Source: The Nordic Page

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