Minister of Employment Jari Lindström. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The Finnish government has commissioned a pilot study on bottlenecks in the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment. Cooperation between the authorities should be improved and electronic services and customer services developed, according to the authors of the report.

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 removal.


“Each employee arriving in Finland is an important asset for their prospective employer, and delays in the residence permit process can at worst jeopardize companies’ operations.

“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,” said Minister of Employment Jari Lindström, who is responsible for integration policies, in a bulletin.

“Each employee arriving in Finland is an important asset for their prospective employer, and delays in the residence permit process can at worst jeopardize 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,” said Kai Mykkänen, the minister of the interior.

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 steps to speed up the process

The pilot study gives eight recommendations for measures to speed up the processing of residence permits on the basis of employment:

Improving process management, monitoring and development work across administrative barriers;

Reducing the number of insufficiently or incorrectly filled out applications;

Improving electronic services;

Improving the 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 organization of interviews of applicants;

Improving the transparency of customer services and permit processes;

Developing legislation that affects the permit processes and their development.

How to get the permit

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 labor 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.

Background on the study

The study carried out by Owal Group Oy between June 26 and August 31, 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.