Ministers Lindström and Mykkänen: Processing of residence permits on the basis of employment must be streamlined
The Finnish Government has commissioned a pilot study on bottlenecks in the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment. The ministerial working group on migration discussed the study report in its meetings on 21 September 2018. Cooperation between the authorities should be improved and electronic services and customer services developed, according to the report authors.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned the pilot study in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior to address delays in the processing of residence permits for employed persons, which are currently caused by drawn-out processing times. The objective was to identify bottlenecks in the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment and propose well-grounded recommendations for their eradication.
“A key issue seems to be a lack of joint coordination and development efforts among the relevant authorities. We need to work together to develop our residence permit processes comprehensively and on a long-term basis. If we attach too much importance to details, we will lose sight of the big picture,” says Minister of Employment Jari Lindström, who is responsible for integration policies.
“Each employee arriving in Finland is an important asset for their prospective employer, and delays in the residence permit process can at worst jeopardise companies’ operations. The migration authorities have actively developed electronic services. Our goal is that by using these good practices and tools more extensively we can speed up the residence permit processes,” says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
Based on the report, the ministerial working group on migration drew up a list of concrete measures to tackle bottlenecks in the residence permit process. Progress on these measures will be reported to the ministerial working group.
Eight recommendations for measures
The pilot study gives eight recommendations for measures to speed up the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment. These are:
- Improving process management, monitoring and development work across administrative barriers;
- Reducing the number of insufficiently or incorrectly filled out applications;
- Improving electronic services;
- Improving exchange of information between authorities;
- Improving the waiting list management and pre-screening of applications for partial decisions by Employment and Economic Development Offices by exploiting the potential of the UMA information system;
- Improving the organisation of interviews of applicants;
- Improving the transparency of customer services and permit processes;
- Developing legislation that affects the permit processes and their development.
Two-stage process for residence permits for employed persons
First, the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office) checks whether the applicant has a sufficient level of income, whether the employment is temporary or continuous and whether any labour suitable for the job in question is available in Finland or the EU/EEA area within a reasonable time. Next, the Finnish Immigration Service will decide whether to approve or reject the residence permit application.
The study carried out by Owal Group Oy between 26 June and 31 August 2018. The authors interviewed officials who work in management, processing of applications and development as well as employers’ representatives and individuals who have recently applied for a residence permit.
The authors also studied relevant legislation, agencies’ internal process descriptions and guidelines and material published online for customers.
The pilot study focused on the following permits:
- Residence permits for employed persons in non-specialist work (ca. 8,000 permits a year);
- Other residence permits for specialists, professional athletes, professional artists and business managers (ca. 1,500 permits a year);
- Seasonal work permits for seasonal workers in agriculture and tourism (ca. 600 permits a year);
- Residence permits on the basis of intra-corporate transfer (ICT) for managers, specialists and trainees (a few permits a year);
- Residence permits for entrepreneurs and start-up entrepreneurs (a new permit category, only a few permit applications so far).
- Pilot study on bottlenecks in the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment
Jami N. Arvola, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 4471 255
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 50 5131 539
Olli Sorainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 022
Jorma Vuorio, Director General, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 600