The Finnish Ministry of Interior plans to impose stricter conditions for family reunions, as permitted by the EU Family Reunification Directive.
Regarding this, a new condition would be added to the Finnish Aliens Act, where the spouse acting as the sponsor must be at least 21 years old.
Authorities would reintroduce the requirement for sufficient funds for family members in cases when the sponsor is a minor who has obtained international protection. In this context, the family member refers to the person who has custody of the minor, as authorities explained.
Sponsors who have obtained international protection would also be required to have a minimum period of residence.
In the future, sponsors who have been granted international protection would have to stay two years in Finland before they can have their family members join them.
As noted in the Government Programme, this project will explore the possibilities of limiting the definition of the family applied in family reunification so it only includes children and spouses in all situations.
At present, individuals who can apply for family reunification include an international spouse of a Finnish citizen, a family member of a foreigner working or studying in Finland, or a family member who has received international protection from Finland.
These new rules are based on the EU Family Reunification Directive, which specifies the minimum conditions for the exercise of the right to family reunification by third-country nationals living lawfully within the territory of the Member States.
Finland has not introduced all the additional conditions permitted by the Directive. The aim of the Ministry’s project is to prepare the necessary amendments to the Aliens Act.
Last year, Finland witnessed an increase in the number of visa applications related to work, studies, and family reunification. During the first ten months of 2023, Finland received 18,253 applications based on family ties. According to authorities, the majority of these applications were submitted by children or spouses of people who have moved to Finland for work or studies.
In addition to the surge in visa applications, the country recorded an increasing number of citizenship applications. More specifically, 14,853 applied for Finnish citizenship between January and October last year, surpassing the previous record in 2021, where 14,366 citizenship requests were submitted.
Despite the increase in visa and citizenship applications, Finland received fewer asylum requests last year, reaching 2,872 applications. The majority of asylum seekers were citizens of Somalia, Russia, Afghanistan, Türkiye, and Iran.