8.9.2021 15:31

Yrittäjät: We need a series of corrections to immigration policy

Suomen Yrittäjät expects a responsible economic policy program and a series of corrections to immigration policy from the ongoing state budget debate. "Determined action is needed to rehabilitate public finances and labor shortages," says CEO Mikael Pentikäinen.

Yrittäjät presents an extensive set of remedies to streamline labor migration. The repair series is based on the experiences that Yrittäjät have gained from companies that are struggling with immigration issues. These are often small changes. “When there are a lot of small deeds, the impact is big,” says CEO Pentikäinen.

The most common problems 

  • Immigration issues are fragmented into different authorities and agencies that transfer responsibilities to each other. There are several reasons for reforming the immigration administration.
  • Licensing authorities do not correct erroneous procedures and schematic decision routines, even if decisions have changed at the appellate levels. In other words, erroneous decisions are accepted, and administrative rights have to correct the errors, even if they congest the system and applicants fall into a loop off new and new procedures for years. This needs to be resolved.
  • Lack of advice and communication.
  • People book a lot of unnecessary time for Migri when they think they’re getting service from there, in addition they send incomplete and wrong applications when they can’t fill in them correcly and hence congest Migri’s channels.
  • People need personal counseling so that they know how to fill in the right applications and do it  correctly. They also need to get information about the progress of the processes so as not to overload the system unnecessarily with phone calls and unnecessary visits. This would leave Migri more time and recourses to do their job.
  • It seems like Migri does not have any free time slots in Helsinki for the entire year. Migri should inform more clearly that times are always available for three months at a time, ie every weekday morning new times open. When this is not told understandably, people are left with incomplete information and therefor burden the system.
  • The processing times for residence permits for entrepreneurs stretch up to 18 months.

How should the situation be remedied?

1. Needs assessment should be abandoned immediately as it slows down the growth of many companies, needs assessment takes time and prevents the selection of the best employees. 

2. The lessons to be learned from Migri’s erroneous decisions are that the same mistakes will not be repeated for different applicants: how are erroneous decisions currently being reviewed and used as an example?

3. Migri must put concrete examples on their website of how the forms should be filled in – for example in the form of a video.

4. Migri needs more service points, especially in big cities.

5. Migri should have a booking quota of one appointment per customer so that the system is not overloaded.

6. The queue for pending applications related to a partial decision of the TE Office included in the residence permit process needs to be better managed and a more careful pre-qualification should be carried out or decisions should be transferred entirely to one party. (Migri only issues an employee’s residence permit after The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has made a positive decision on the application.)

7. Electronic application should be possible for all residence permits (people should not be forced to travel to another country to the Finnish embassy if one cannot be found in their own country).

8. Employers must be supported in using the Finnish Immigration Service’s electronic transaction service EnterFinland.

9. Permit processing times need to be significantly speeded up.

10. Enabling a smooth transition between different residence permits (eg from entrepreneur to employee and vice versa and combining different work patterns). This can also help eradicate the exploitation of foreign workers.

11. Incorporate students into the D-visa and issue a permanent residence permit to a graduating foreign student, be it from a secondary school or the university.

12. Accelerate the start of the right to work for asylum seekers, while ensuring that the system is not misused.

13. The Aliens Act does not include those waiting for a family-based residence permit among those foreigners who have the right to work in Finland without a residence permit. We propose an amendment to the law to enhance integration. Opening the right to work, study or participate in integration services would alleviate the situation of those waiting for a family-based residence permit.

14. Move from prior controls to follow-up controls, for example on residence permits for entrepreneurs (removing the requirement for ready-made contracts, rents for premises, etc., as these are difficult to implement without a residence permit).

15. Income levels and their impact on residence permits should be examined regionally, as living and housing are differently priced in different parts of Finland.

16. Decentralized Finnish immigration service should be centralized in a single authority with both case-by-case decision-making on migration and active cooperation with other authorities; this best serves Finland’s needs to help immigration.