The latest report from the European Migration Network (EMN) reveals a consistent rise in the number of skilled immigrants and their families relocating to Finland. The EMN Annual Report 2023, coordinated by the European Commission and compiled by the Finnish Immigration Service, highlights several key trends in migration to Finland.

Despite a slight decrease in first work-based residence permits in 2023 compared to the previous year (15,081 in 2023, down from 16,081 in 2022),

the number of extended permits surged significantly (19,476 in 2023, up from 12,374 in 2022). This suggests that many workers are choosing to remain in Finland for longer periods.

The demand for foreign labor continues to be driven by major construction projects, the social and health sectors, and the expanding service industry. However, the report also notes challenges in labor protection and law enforcement, with instances of third-country nationals working without proper permits in sectors like cleaning, construction, transport, agriculture, catering, and shipbuilding.

Finland saw a record number of residence permits issued to international students in 2023, with 12,795 first permits granted, up from 8,383 in 2022. This increase is partly attributed to the growing influx of students from South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India. The number of extensions for student permits has stabilized as initial permits are now typically granted for the full duration of studies.

The report shows a significant rise in residence permits granted on the basis of family ties, with 20,278 first permits issued in 2023 compared to 17,284 in 2022. This increase reflects a trend of professionals and students bringing their families to Finland, indicating a longer-term commitment to residing in the country.

While Finland received 5,372 asylum applications in 2023, including those from asylum seekers crossing the eastern border, this number remains moderate compared to the 2015 peak. The Finnish Immigration Service projects 3,500 to 4,500 new asylum applications annually for the next two years. This contrasts sharply with the broader EU context, where asylum applications reached over 1.1 million in 2023, with Germany receiving the most.

In 2023, Finland processed 1,426 applications for temporary protection, a significant drop from 47,302 in 2022. This provision primarily aids individuals fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

To discuss these findings and future trends, the Finnish Immigration Service and EMN will host a webinar on May 21, 2024. The event will feature presentations of the EMN Migration and Asylum Report 2023 and the Migration Indicators 2023 statistical overview. Key speakers will include Ilkka Haahtela, Director General of the Finnish Immigration Service, and Rafael Bärlund, Director of the EMN Finland Contact Point. The webinar will also include insights from Senior Specialists Tuukka Lampi and Jutta Saastamoinen, and Kaisla Huhta from the Finnish Immigration Service.

This comprehensive report underscores Finland's evolving migration landscape, marked by a steady influx of skilled workers, international students, and the families of professionals, shaping the country’s demographic and economic future.