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14.3.2023 13:56

Migri promises faster replies to businesses’ email inquiries

Suomen Yrittäjät specialist says inspection of right to work still too slow.

At the end of January, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) launched a service in which employers can inquire by email about foreign employees’ right to work. Migri says that after the launch it received almost 900 email inquiries about foreign employees’ right to work.

Employers have previously criticized Migri for slow responses to queries and being unable to provide a contact person. Requests for information have taken several months to yield a response, at their worst. That has made recruitment difficult and in part worsened companies’ labour shortage.

“Verifying the right to work has proven challenging, particularly for asylum seekers. I’m glad Migri has responded to these challenges,” Albert Mäkelä, a specialist at Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish SME association, says.

Migri says the criticism from Suomen Yrittäjät has been understood.

“We hope that we can now serve businesses at a sufficiently high level. We are monitoring the level of need and assigning staff appropriately,” Sari Bruun, Regional Responsible Officer of the Asylum Unit at the Finnish Immigration Service, says.

Inquiries are free and Migri promises an answer by email within two weeks. The fastest responses have come in eight days. An employer can send an inquiry to tto(at) More detailed instructions are available on the FIS website.

“We hope that we can now serve businesses at a sufficiently high level.”

Sari Bruun, Finnish Immigration Service

Mäkelä of Suomen Yrittäjät considers two weeks an excessively long response time.

“For an employer, it’s important to be able to easily check a foreign employee’s right to work. Two weeks is a long time to wait for an answer, as an employer is obligated to verify an employee’s right to work at the very start of employment,” he says.

FIS defends slow responses

Sanna Marin’s (SDP) government programme promises to work towards the fast and smooth processing of labour-based residence permits. The goal is an average processing time of one month. The Deputy Chancellor of Justice has criticized Migri on several occasions for its failure to adhere to application processing deadlines as early as 2020. By law, a work permit application must be resolved in four months. Read our previous article about a Porvoo engineering company’s case.

The advice dispensed by email only concerns whether the person in question has the right to work or not. Bruun says that providing information takes time because in some cases information must be sought from several places.

“When the client has submitted an application subject to international protection or regarding a residence permit, the employer has a very strong need to know the status of the application. The challenge for us has been that we’ve had to consult the foreigner register and sometimes other agencies to find out what the state of the matter is and what that means for the right to work,” she says.

Bruun thinks that a good aspect of the new service is that the answer is up to date, providing information about the situation on the day the email was sent.

“Our goal is to serve businesses in as client-specific a way as possible. A business does not need to wait for information by post; it gets a reply straight to its inbox. Here, we don’t distinguish between where the applicant is in the process, in other words, between residence permit applicant and an asylum seeker. What’s crucial is whether the right to work is in force on the day we send our response.”

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Pauli Reinikainen