Call To Create A Supra-Immigration Service In Finland

“Immigration to Finland could be made more efficient if all
immigration services were centralised and housed under one roof”, says Ole
Norrback, an ambassador and politician who has studied how immigration
processes could run more smoothly.      
    Norrback says the Immigration Service could improve its
customer service by committing to process work and residence permit
applications in one week’s time for immigrants who have jobs lined up. At the
moment, processing times for work permits range between one and ten months.
    “Until now, quick decisions have only been made for
those whom we want out of the country. Now that we need labour, we also need to
speed up the processing procedure for people coming here to work”, says
    The proposal outlines more responsibility for the Finnish
Immigration Service, which would subsequently function under the jurisdiction
of the Ministry of the Interior. In the future, the agency would take over
responsibility for work permits, in addition to the permit matters it currently
oversees. At the moment, work permits are handled by regional employment
agencies in Uusimaa, Tampere and Lappeenranta.   
    The Finnish Immigration Service would, according to the
proposal, become the official authority for immigrant integration, placement of
asylum seekers in reception centres and would moreover implement decisions on
visa matters. The Immigration Service would also continue to provide guidance
to local police on immigrant matters.
Norrback finds that there is room for improvement in
authorities’ attitudes. He also says that there has been too much public
attention focused on asylum seekers, when thousands of immigrants are waiting
on regular residence permits.


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