The Finnish government aims to increase work- and education-based immigration to Finland. To facilitate immigration, the Aliens Act is amended.1 Some of the changes have already come into effect, and more changes are expected during 2023.
The changes already in effect include extension of the national D visa to new groups and extension of fast track to managerial positions.
In this GMS Flash Alert, we also cover the upcoming change regarding the Finnish Immigration Service’s use of the Incomes Register in certain residence permit extensions, and the automatic extension for residence permits granted based on temporary protection.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The goal of the government is to make the immigration process easier and faster for people moving to Finland to work or study, and the changes are introduced gradually. In order to avail of the opportunities and advantages of the new rules to cut through the red tape and get employees into Finland swiftly, but in a way that is compliant, globally mobile employees and their employers should keep abreast of the new rules – they may wish to consult with their immigration counsel and global mobility professionals.
For those already in Finland, the changes in the use of the Finnish Incomes Register and the automatic extension of residence permits based on temporary protection will facilitate immigration.
Several amendments to the Aliens Act and associated acts were supposed to come into effect on 15 December 20222 but this has been delayed. However, some changes to facilitate residence permit processes already came into effect in December 2022 or will enter into effect in early 2023.
D Visa Extended to New Groups Including Researchers
June 2022 saw the introduction of a national long-term D visa that can be issued to specialists, high-growth start-up entrepreneurs and their family members. The D visa accelerates the process of entering Finland, as a person will have the choice to apply for a D visa and collect the residence permit card in Finland, as opposed to waiting for the card in the home country.
An amendment to the Aliens Act that came into effect on 22 December 2022, also enables the following groups to apply for the D visa:
1) persons in managerial positions in companies and their family members – already implemented in practice;
2) researchers, students, their family members – due to technical reasons, implementation on 1 April 2023;
3) persons who have lost their residence permit cards – due to technical reasons, implementation on 1 April 2023.3
For more information on the changes implemented earlier in 2022 in researchers’ and students’ residence permits, please see GSM Flash Alert 2022-122.
After the implementation coming in April, a D visa can be granted for accelerated entry to a person who has been granted:
1) a residence permit for a special expert;
2) a European Union blue card;
3) a residence permit for a growth entrepreneur;
4) an intra-company transfer residence permit for managers or specialists;
5) a residence permit for a researcher on the basis of research, study, internship and voluntary activities, or a residence permit for studies;
6) a residence permit for upper- or middle-management positions;
7) a residence permit based on family ties to persons who have been granted one of the above-mentioned residence permits.4
Fast Track Extended to Upper- and Middle-Management Positions
In addition to being able to apply for a D visa, persons in upper- or middle-managerial positions and their family members can now also apply for a residence permit on the fast track, which allows them to receive a residence permit decision within 14 days from the electronic application submission.5 For more information on the other groups who can apply on the fast track, please see GMS Flash Alert 2022-116.
Incomes Register to Facilitate Extension Applications
The Finnish Immigration Service will start utilising the Finnish Incomes Register on 19 January 2023. In the future, it will be easier for persons applying for an extension permit based on employment or studies to prove their livelihood. The Finnish Immigration Service will receive salary information directly from the Incomes Register, which means it is not necessary to submit separate income documents when applying for certain residence permit extensions in the future. The Incomes Register only includes salaries, pensions, and benefits paid in Finland.6
Residence Permits Granted on the Basis of Temporary Protection to Be Extended
Starting 19 January 2023, all residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection will be valid until 4 March 2024. A separate extension application is not needed, as the residence permits will be automatically extended by the Finnish Immigration Service. All residence permits that will be granted on the basis of temporary protection will also be valid until 4 March 2024.
It is optional to apply for a new card with the updated validity period. If a person wants to apply for a new card, it is possible starting from 25 January 2023. However, due to the automatic extension, the stay in Finland is legal even without a new card.7
Where companies are relocating or sending their employees to Finland or if individuals are moving to Finland, they are advised to carefully examine the residence permit categories and apply for the fast-tracked permit types and D visa if applicable. For more information on the fast track and national D visa introduced in June 2022, please see GMS Flash Alert 2022-116.
Even before the current extension of the fast track and D visa to managerial positions, most employees working in managerial positions already qualified for those since June 2022 as special experts, holders of the EU Blue Card, or intra-company transferees.
1 See (in English) Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, “Government proposes amendments to Aliens Act to ease work-based immigration.”
2 See (in Finnish) the government’s proposal HE 114/2022 vp to amend the Aliens Act and associated acts (Hallituksen esitys HE 114/2022 vp) by clicking here.
3 See (in English) Ministry of the Interior, “Long-term D visa will expedite entry into the country for students and researchers who have been issued with residence permits.”
4 See (in Finnish) the law on amending the Aliens Act 1088/2022 (Laki ulkomaalaislain muuttamisesta).
5 See (in English) Ministry of the Interior, “Long-term D visa will expedite entry into the country for students and researchers who have been issued with residence permits.”
6 Finnish Immigration Service newsletter (email in Finnish), 21 December 2022, “Maahanmuuttoviraston uutiskirje koulutusalan ammattilaisille.”
7 See (in English) Finnish Immigration Service, “All residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection will be extended until 4 March 2024, you do not need to apply for an extended permit.”
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Finland.
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