Russia's invasion of Ukraine had a major impact on Finland's immigration statistics last year, according to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
Tens of thousands of people sought temporary protection in Finland, after Russia's attack on Ukraine began in late February of last year.
Traditionally, the most common reasons people migrate to Finland are related to work, family or studies. But last year, the largest group of arrivals were Ukrainians fleeing their war-ravaged home country.
In 2022, Migri processed a total of 47,302 applications from individuals seeking temporary protection in Finland, with 45,308 being granted that status.
A total of 46,641 of those temporary protection applications were from Ukraine, according to Migri.
An EU directive about temporary protection was implemented in Finland, as well as Europe, for the first time on 4 March 2022, Migri explained in a statement about last year's statistics.
Temporary protection differs from that of asylum, in that it is not limited to a specific group and — unlike for asylum applicants — an individual assessment of the need for protection is not required.
Earlier this month Migri announced that it was extending all residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection until 4 March 2024.
The agency has previously said that after living in Finland for one year, people granted temporary protection can apply for a municipality of residence as of 1 March.
Employment was the most common reason people applied for residence permits that were approved last year. Those people often worked in the cleaning, healthcare and restaurant sectors.
Meanwhile, 2,358 applicants who are considered special experts in their field — for example IT experts — were granted residence permits. Most of those applicants were Russian, Indian and Turkish citizens.
As Finnish firms withdrew from Russia last year, the number of Russian special experts who were granted residence permits in Finland grew significantly last year. While 191 such permits were approved in 2021, the number rose to 874 in 2022.
Overall, Migri processed 50,727 first-time residence permit applications last year, compared to 36,206 the previous year.
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