The number of first work-based residence permit applications is projected to reach 19,000 in 2023 and 21,500 in 2024, according to the updated forecast of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) published on Wednesday.
Following a record number of work-based applications submitted in 2022 (20,961 in total), a slight decrease is predicted for this year.
Last year's high application volumes were due to the release of built-up demand accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic, as employment-based immigration recovered quickly once restrictions were lifted.
“Many industries and businesses are facing serious labour shortages. Meanwhile, the working-age population is shrinking. As a result, the increased need and demand for foreign labour is set to continue in the future,” said Johannes Hirvelä, Director of Development of the Finnish Immigration Service.
Last year also saw a record number of first residence permit applications submitted by students (9,855 in total). The high figure is estimated to result from students who had begun their studies remotely or deferred the start of their course due to the coronavirus pandemic moving to Finland in 2022.
While application volumes are projected to decrease slightly in 2023 and 2024, they are expected to remain at a historically high level. The agency expects to receive 8,500 applications this year, and 9,000 applications in 2024.
The number of first residence permit applications submitted by students depends on factors including the available intake for international degree programmes, the acceptance rate of admission offers, and Finland’s attractiveness as a place to live and study.
According to the forecast, 20,000–30,000 applicants for temporary protection will arrive in Finland from Ukraine this year. The number is lower than the earlier estimate of 30,000–40,000 applicants.
The expert group decided to revise its previous forecast downward as the impact of winter on the movement of Ukrainians to EU countries was less pronounced than expected. The number of applicants for temporary protection in Finland has remained relatively stable since late 2022.
In line with the projected continuation of the migratory movement in 2024, that year is estimated to see 10,000–15,000 applicants for temporary protection arrive in Finland.
It is now expected that between 3,500 and 4,500 first-time asylum applicants will arrive in Finland per year in 2023 and 2024. These estimates are underpinned in particular by prolonged conflicts in key countries of origin such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria, as well as the strained refugee situation within transit countries.
There was a marked increase in the number of asylum applications submitted by Russian nationals after Russia declared a military mobilisation. Following the imposition of entry and visa restrictions in late September 2022, asylum application volumes declined rapidly and have remained low since.
“However, recent years have shown us that our operating environment can change quickly, and that asylum applications are often driven by sudden developments. It is therefore challenging to predict the evolution of application volumes, and we must be prepared for a range of scenarios,” Hirvelä said.
- Residence permit