In a concerning development, Finland is currently grappling with a significant backlog in processing immigration applications based on Family Reunification.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has reported that approximately 11,800 applications are currently pending a decision, highlighting the pressing need for streamlined processing procedures.
Family Reunification Visa in Finland
The Family Reunification Visa in Finland is a residence permit granted to foreign citizens who are family members of either Finnish citizens or foreign nationals eligible for family reunification. This permit is issued based on family ties, allowing eligible family members to join their relatives in Finland.
Family reunification encompasses spouses, children, and other close relatives of Finnish or foreign citizens, providing them with the opportunity to reside together in Finland.
Sharp Surge in Applications Overwhelms System
The current situation stems from a dramatic increase in family reunification applications over the past two years. In 2021, Migri received around 26,000 applications, while the figure jumped to 32,000 in 2022. This year, the agency expects applications to reach a staggering 40,000, representing a 50% increase compared to 2021.
Mixed News for Applicants
Despite the backlog, good news exists for some applicants. More than 60% of family reunification applications submitted in 2023 have received decisions within three months, and 76% are expected to be processed within six months. This suggests that quicker handling is possible for more straightforward cases.
Factors Contributing to the Backlog
Several factors contribute to the backlog, including administrative challenges and the unprecedented spike in application volumes.
The surge is attributed to various geopolitical factors, changing global dynamics, and evolving societal trends, all of which have prompted an influx of individuals seeking family reunification in Finland.
Migri Takes Action to Address Backlog
Concerned about the extended wait times, Migri has implemented several measures to expedite processing:
- Increased Staffing: The agency has actively recruited additional personnel to handle the workload.
- Streamlined Procedures: Efforts are underway to optimize application processing procedures and eliminate unnecessary delays.
- Communication Enhancements: Migri is improving communication with applicants, and providing updates on application status and expected wait times.
Families Urged to Submit Accurate Applications
Migri advises applicants to thoroughly review application requirements and ensure all supporting documents are accurate and complete. This helps avoid delays due to missing information or processing errors.
While the backlog presents a challenge, it also reflects Finland’s commitment to family unity. Migri’s ongoing efforts to streamline processing and increase staffing should offer hope for families awaiting reunification.