Asylum pleas fall in Finland, people mainly migrate for work, study

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The number of asylum applications submitted in Finland has decreased from 2022 and people move to Finland mainly to work, study and family grounds, according to an overview of migration published by the Ministry of the Interior on Friday.

The number of residence permits granted to persons who have entered Finland legally remained stable for the entire 2010s, when decisions were issued to about 30,000 people per year.

After the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of residence permits issued began to grow fast. Work remains the most common reason for granting a residence permit.

In 2022, Finland granted 51,300 residence permits. The number of residence permit applications has remained high this year.

Following the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine around four million Ukrainians have applied for temporary protection in the Member States of the European Union. Other migration to the EU is also growing. Both the number of asylum applications submitted in the EU and irregular migration to the EU are on the rise.

At the moment, migration pressure is concentrated on the Central Mediterranean route from Tunisia and Libya to Italy. So far, the situation in the Mediterranean and the increase in irregular migration to the EU has had a limited impact on Finland or the other Nordic countries.

In 2022, about 5,800 people applied for asylum in Finland. The profile of asylum seekers was clearly different from the preceding years. The largest group of asylum seekers were the Ukrainians.

In 2022, Russians submitted about 1,200 asylum applications, compared to 400–500 applications in previous years. Of all applications, about 900 were subsequent applications.

This year, the number of applications has evened out and there has been a decline especially in the number of asylum applications submitted by Russian citizens.

A total of 2,070 applications were submitted between January and June, 449 of which were subsequent applications.

Currently, the largest groups of asylum seekers are from Iraq, Somalia and Russia. The factors contributing to the number of asylum seekers include migration pressure to the EU, the situation in the key departure and transit countries, border control at the EU’s external borders, temporary border control at the internal borders of some EU Member States, developments in the situation in Russia and actions of the Russian border officials, and the national immigration and asylum policies outlined by the other Nordic countries and the largest recipient countries (Germany, France, Spain and Italy).

On 4 March 2022, the European Union implemented the system of temporary protection for the first time. This system allows persons fleeing from Ukraine to receive temporary protection without undergoing the asylum procedure. In Finland, some 60,000 Ukrainians have submitted an application for temporary protection (situation on 25 July 2023). About 13,500 of the applications were submitted this year.

At the beginning of the year, the number of applications was on the decline, but began to grow again slightly in May. The increase is largely explained by the applications submitted by Ukrainians who have come to Finland for seasonal work.

At the moment, there are around 41,000 Ukrainians in the Finnish reception system.

Around 17,000 Ukrainians have left the system, 4,400 of whom have moved to municipalities. The remaining people have most likely left the country, most of them returning to Ukraine or travelling somewhere else in the EU.

Ukrainians continue to apply for a municipality of residence in moderate numbers. So far, applications of about 9,000 persons receiving temporary protection have been approved.

As mentioned above, 4,400 Ukrainians whose application has been approved have already moved to their municipalities.

Of those who have applied for temporary protection, approximately 35,500 have the right to apply for a municipality of residence and move to their municipalities during 2023.

The temporary protection based on the EU directive is currently in force until 4 March 2024 and will end in March 2025 at the latest. To avoid unnecessary movement between countries and burden on the asylum system, the EU is currently seeking a uniform solution for the continuation of residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection.

According to the projection published by the Finnish Immigration Service’s foresight network, Ukrainian people will submit an estimated 20,000–30,000 applications for temporary asylum in Finland this year.

The estimate will be updated again in August. The number of applicants will be affected by reasons such as the duration and extent of the war, the development of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and the overloading of reception capacity elsewhere in Europe, which may lead to Ukrainians moving between EU countries.

  •  Asylum
  •  Falls
  •  Study
  •  Work


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