Minister of Employment Timo Harakka has promised to expedite work permit procedures more than once this autumn. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT Timo Harakka (SDP) has revealed the government is planning on reducing the time skilled employees have to wait for a residence permit from well over seven to no more than two weeks as of 2020.

Harakka on Friday told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the objective is thereby to attract software professionals from countries such as India to Finland.

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“For these experts and for these expert work permits, which require a certain [level of] income, but are also on the express lane on permits, we are aiming to get these things handled in one or two weeks,” he commented to the news agency on the final day of a three-day visit to India by Team Finland.

“We are looking to shorten the time frame.”

He argued that the frame can be reduced considerably because work and study permit-related issues are being moved from the purview of the Ministry of the Interior to that of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Health.

Finland, he estimated, will need to attract thousands, if not tens of thousands, of software and information communication technology experts from abroad in the next three-to-five years.

Statistics from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) indicate that the amount of time required for processing the residence permit application of a first-time applicant has jumped from an average of 25 days in 2018 to 52 days in 2019. Over three-quarters (78%) of the 6,054 employment-based residence permit applications processed over the past six months were granted.

Harakka stated to YLE in October that although it is inexcusable that even special experts have had to wait months for their residence permits, cutting the processing times to even one month can be complicated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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