The Finnish Immigration Service launched a new fast-track service for immigration on 1 June 2022, which will enable specialists and start-up entrepreneurs to gain a Finnish residence permit in a maximum of 14 days.
This new service constitutes a significant change to the Finnish immigration system as the average processing time for an application submitted abroad for a specialist was about one month and for a start-up entrepreneur about 70 days in 2020. The fast-track service is available as of 1 June 2022.
Who will be eligible for the fast-track service?
The new service is one way to increase Finland’s appeal and make international recruitments easier. The fast-track service will be available for specialists and start-up entrepreneurs and for their families. Specialists are defined as persons coming to Finland to work in expert tasks requiring expert knowledge, and may include IT experts, employees with a higher education degree, and more. The term start-up entrepreneur refers to a young innovation-based company whose business model aims for rapid international growth. Typical examples of such companies are companies that offer gaming and mobile applications.
Those who apply for a residence permit via the fast-track service will from now on receive a decision on the permit within a maximum of 14 days. The condition for this quick process is that the applicant has provided all the required information and attachments in their application. To be able to use the fast-track service the applicant must submit and pay for the application online, and prove their identity and have their fingerprints taken at a service point abroad within five working days.
The introduction of the D visa
A central part of the fast-track service is the introduction of the long-term, so-called national D visa for specialists, start-up entrepreneurs and their families. By giving the applicants the possibility to travel to Finland immediately after their residence permit has been issued, the D visa supports the fast-track services promise of faster processing times. There will no longer be any need to wait for a residence permit card abroad, instead the applicant will receive the card in Finland.
The long-term national visa aids the fast-track service in speeding up the entry process into Finland, thus constituting an essential part of the new immigration service. The validity period of the D visa is 100 days from the day it was issued.
The purpose of the fast-track service
The shortage of labour is already slowing down the growth of many business sectors, which is the reason why the fast-track service and the D visa have been introduced in the first place. Finland needs active work-based immigration and the aim of this new service is to significantly increase the immigration of specialists and start-up entrepreneurs.
The problem with this process for work-based immigration is that it has until now proved to be a fairly slow process, which may have negative consequences for the work-based immigration, as slow immigration processes may result in the skilled employee ending up in another country instead of Finland.
The fast-track service and the D visa are just one part of several measures that the Finnish government has launched to make work-based and education-based immigration faster and smoother and to increase Finland’s appeal among international experts. The ultimate goal of the government is to reduce the average processing time for all work and study-based residence permits to an average of one month.
We are happy to provide more information on this fast-track service and its significance for your business.