UP TO HUNDREDS of Britons may be presently residing illegally in Finland, writes Helsingin Sanomat.
Mika Walldén, a special inspector at the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), on Tuesday revealed to the daily newspaper that roughly 4,200 of the estimated 5,000 British nationals residing in Finland applied for a so-called Brexit permit by 30 September.
“It’d mean that there are several hundred people who didn’t apply,” he said, adding that the number is strictly an estimate, especially with the coronavirus pandemic possibly prompting some to return to the United Kingdom.
“It’s impossible to say what the real number is. I can’t say how many people have left Finland and whether the number of Britons living in Finland has decreased,” said Walldén.
The Brexit permit became a requirement for British nationals to continue their residence in Finland following the completion of Brexit in January 2021. The deadline for applying for it was 30 September, although late applications will also be accepted on loosely defined grounds, according to Walldén.
“Justifiable reasons will be considered on a case-by-case basis but forgetting doesn’t sound like a justifiable reason,” he outlined.
The deadline does not apply to some population groups, such as children born or adopted in Finland. British nationals living in the country who neglected to apply in time and have no justifiable reason for missing the deadline will be required to apply for a residence permit.
“The you’d naturally have to have some reason for residing in the country, meaning you’d have to satisfy the criteria for a residence permit,” said Walldén.
British nationals who submitted their application by the deadline, he added, need not take further action and can continue their lives as usual in Finland. “All you have to do is wait for the decision,” he stated to Helsingin Sanomat.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT