Migration to Finland: grounds, advantages and peculiarities of the procedure

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Migration to Finland: grounds, advantages and peculiarities of the procedure

Finland is a country that attracts many immigrants from different parts of the world with its high quality of life, social support and developed healthcare and education system. Learn more about the grounds, advantages and peculiarities of the migration procedure to Finland

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In the 90s, immigration in Finland was not a priority. In total, there were just over 20 thousand foreigners in the country in 1990. However, the situation has changed dramatically over time. After a deep economic crisis, Finland has become one of the leaders in the European Union in terms of economic development.

Along with the rapid growth of the country's GDP, Finland has become extremely attractive to foreigners. A significant part of migrants are not refugees from poor African countries, but instead represent other Western countries. This allows them to find stable jobs in Finland and improve their quality of life. If you are considering moving to Finland, you should carefully consider all the possible ways and benefits that this country can provide you.

Benefits of immigration to Finland 

Moving to Finland is a decision that requires courage and careful consideration, especially considering the peculiarities of this Northern European country. However, when we take into account the numerous advantages offered by Finnish immigration, even all the disadvantages lose their insurmountably.

The dynamics of migration shows a growing interest in Finland: every year the number of immigrants increases by 15-20 thousand people, reaching a total of 373 thousand. And this is not surprising at all, as Finland offers many benefits to its residents:

Firstly, being in the Schengen area allows permanent residents of Finland to travel freely across Europe without visas.

Secondly, Finland is famous for its high level of income: the average salary last year was 3.36 thousand euros.

Third, economic stability reigns here, and GDP per capita exceeds $38,000.

Fourthly, Finnish residents have access to a high-quality public healthcare system, provided they have a place of residence in Finland.

Fifthly, you get the right to work in Finland and simplified employment in any other EU country.

And finally, Finland provides affordable education for both children and adults, making it an attractive choice for families and individuals.

These are only general aspects, and Finland is ready to provide immigrants with even more opportunities and benefits. At the same time, this step can be the key to a bright and comfortable future.

Immigration policy and conditions in Finland

The Finnish authorities actively promote migration flows, as emigration from the CIS countries to Finland is a logical and natural phenomenon. Local migration policy improves conditions for immigration with many different motives. Among them are the aging of the Finnish population, where 56% of the country's population growth stems from migration, the need for labor and the development of economic potential.

Recent years have led to an update of the Aliens Act (Ulkomaalaislaki 301/2004), which has simplified immigration conditions and made moving to Finland for permanent residence more accessible.

Local authorities are actively creating favorable conditions for foreigners, including employment opportunities for seasonal and low-skilled jobs even without language skills, free language retraining, personal employment and qualification counseling, as well as free preschool/school education for children and participation in entrepreneurship support programs. All of this creates a favorable climate for foreigners who consider Finland as their new home.

Forms of legalization of migration to Finland

For foreigners arriving in Finland from any country and planning to legally stay in the country for more than 90 days, it is necessary to obtain a residence permit. The first residence permit, called "Ensaimmäinen oleskelulup," is temporary and is issued for a period of time depending on the reason for moving. For example, a student residence permit is granted for no more than 1 year, while a family reunification permit can be issued for up to 4 years.

When the first residence permit expires, the foreigner has the right to apply for an extension of residence permit called "Uusi määräaikainen oleskelulupa" and this permit can be issued for 4 years. After 4 continuous years of residence, a foreigner is given the opportunity to obtain a permanent residence permit, which gives the right to reside in the country indefinitely. After 5 years of continuous residence, a foreigner is also eligible for citizenship.

Grounds for obtaining a residence permit in Finland

Chapter 4 of Act No. 301/2004 on Foreigners sets out a number of grounds on which a temporary residence permit can be obtained. Among the grounds for obtaining a residence permit and migration to Finland are:

1. Residence permit for students and researchers;

2. Residence permit for employment purposes;

3. Residence permit for business purposes;

4. Residence permit for family reunification purposes;

5. Residence permit for repatriates;

6. Asylum.

Residence permit for the purpose of studying in Finland

A residence permit for study in Finland is issued to students admitted to Finnish universities, as well as to inventors and researchers who dream of obtaining a degree. Finnish education is renowned for its high quality and offers opportunities to stay in the country and find a job, so many foreigners dream of studying at Finnish universities.

However, foreigners from outside the EU who are going to study in Finland should remember that tuition is paid. The minimum payment is 1.5 thousand euros per year. For example, at the University of Helsinki, tuition fees vary from 13 to 18 thousand euros per year, depending on the chosen specialty.

But for doctoral students, researchers, and gifted masters, Finnish universities offer scholarships and grants for study and research. Most international students, however, have to support themselves. To do so, they need to have at least 560 euros per month or 6.72 thousand euros per year in their bank account.

Residence permit for labor migration to Finland

A special work visa, known as a residence permit, is required for foreigners from non-EU countries to obtain employment. Depending on the type of work, a foreigner may need a residence permit for general work that does not require special qualifications or a residence permit for specific activities such as management positions, scientific activities or work as a specialist, regardless of the specialty.

In case of seasonal work, a special residence permit is also required. All these types of visas are issued by the Migration Service, but after confirmation by the Bureau of Employment and Economic Development.

Other types of residence permits may also give the right to work, such as a student residence permit, which allows you to work up to 25 hours per week. Most vacancies on the labor market offer a salary of 2 to 2.5 thousand euros.

Residence permit for family reasons in Finland

Paragraph 37 of Act No. 301/2004 opens up the possibility of obtaining a residence permit for foreigners who have family members in Finland. In order to obtain this type of permit, it is usually necessary to justify the need for family members to move to the country, as well as to show that there are sufficient financial resources to support foreigners arriving in Finland.

Not all family members of Finns or foreigners legally residing in the country are eligible for such a residence permit, but only those who meet the following conditions:

1. Marital partners: this includes Finnish and foreign spouses, including same-sex couples, as well as civil unions if they have been married for at least 2 years or have children together;

2. Parents and children: minor children of Finns or foreigners permanently residing in Finland, as well as parents and other guardians of minor children who have Finnish citizenship or residence permit, if the children are unmarried and under 18 years of age;

3. Other relatives: this category includes relatives of any degree of kinship who are completely dependent on the family member residing in Finland. For example, a Finnish citizen can bring his/her retired parents to the country based on their health and financial dependence.

Residence permit for re-emigrants to Finland

Repatriation to Finland is a process that provides a unique opportunity for people with Finnish roots to return to their homeland. Regardless of your place of residence, Finnish legislation opens up wide opportunities for obtaining a residence permit through repatriation.

Repatriation is not just about returning to your homeland, it is also about granting you the status of a re-emigrant (paluumuuttaja), which opens the door to many benefits. The main factor for being recognized as a returnee is family ties, and other grounds such as work or study are not relevant in this context.

If you have Finnish roots, you can also apply for a simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship. Finland does not set any mandatory periods of residence for such persons. The main thing is not to lose your citizenship through your own fault, for example, by providing false information or revoking your citizenship.

There are two main categories of repatriates: those with Finnish ancestry and those with Finnish parents or grandparents. Your Finnish ancestry must be documented, but it opens the way to repatriation and residence permit.

The application for repatriation must be submitted in person; no one else can do it on your behalf. The application processing time is 5 months, and a state fee of 470 euros is required. However, this may be affordable if you have sufficient means of living.

Once you get a residence permit, you also get an unlimited right to work, but this becomes possible only after the final decision is made by the migration services. If you consider Finland as your new homeland, repatriation is the way to return to your roots and start a new life in this wonderful country.

Obtaining asylum in Finland

Finland is a country that grants asylum to persons who have a serious fear for their life due to persecution or threats on various grounds, including racial, religious, ethnic, linguistic and other grounds. However, the asylum procedure requires documentary evidence of the threat and the submission of an application in Finland or on its borders.

The application cannot be submitted remotely or through embassies, which makes the process much more complicated for those trying to enter Finland. Within the EU, refugee status can only be applied for in the country where the applicant first tried to enter. This poses a challenge, as the only way to get to Finland without going through transit countries is by air or through Russia.

While the asylum application is being processed, the applicant can leave Finland, but cannot cross its border. Those who do not have the means to live have the option of staying in reception centers.

Even with such a wide range of opportunities for migration to Finland, immigrants must take into account strict requirements and restrictions. Each destination has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into account when planning your migration. Nevertheless, Finland remains a country that opens its doors to those seeking refuge in the face of persecution and threats.

Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World

To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Finland;

Legal advice on business, tourismimmigration and education in Finland;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Finland;

Medical insurance all over the world;

Insurance for international students in Finland.

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