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All Points North #37: Much ado about Brexit with Ilkka Salmi and Tim Bird

Finland is finally taking steps to provide Brits in Finland with some clarity about their status post-Brexit and in the event of a possible no-deal scenario.

Audio: Yle News

The clock is ticking for UK citizens across Europe as the date approaches for their country's divorce from the European Union. Brits living in Finland have been anxious about the relative lack of clarity regarding their post-Brexit status. Ilkka Salmi, Permanent Secretary in the Interior Ministry and Tim Bird, a UK citizen resident in Helsinki, join our podcast to talk about the situation.

Before we went on air, the Finnish government announced that it had written up a draft bill that would guarantee that Britons who register with the Finnish Immigration Service by the end of March would maintain their current status in Finland until at least 2020. This move already will do much to relieve some of the anxiety, but what will happen after that?

Tim Bird is a writer and photographer that has lived and worked in Finland for over 30 years. He said that the uncertainty about Brexit has been a real factor for him and for many of his fellow Brits in Finland, as they both await word on how the eventual split will go down, and what the Finnish authorities will do once it does.

British citizen Ed Daniel works for the University of Oulu in northwest Finland. In an APN interview, he said that he proactively went to the Finnish Immigration Service Migri last October to register as a resident, only to be told that they weren't sure what his situation would be.

Interior Ministry representative Ilkka Salmi said he regretted Migri's understanding of the situation at the time, adding that Friday's announcement of the new draft legislation should answer a lot of questions.

He said the most important thing for Brits living in Finland to know now is that they should register with the Finnish Immigration Service sometime in the next two months to smoothen the bureaucracy of future arrangements. He also said that Brits in Finland who plan to travel outside the EU after the end of March would also do well to register - as proof of registration and a passport would be enough to re-enter the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He vowed that the Finnish government will do everything it can to make the transition as trouble-free as possible for British residents, if the UK leaves the EU at some later date.

Brexit, polar night, and super moon top weekly news

APN looked at the top three news stories on our Yle News website over the last week. Not surprisingly, the hottest topic was our original report on British citizens frustrated over the uncertainty of their status in Finland. Migri's current official advice to UK citizens in Finland is still to make sure they are registered as legal residents before Brexit.

Next, our story about the end of polar night in Nuorgam, Finland's northernmost town up in Lapland, struck a chord. Polar night there began nearly two months ago on November 25, heralding a hazy, blue-tinted period, when the sun does not rise above the horizon. Sunrise in Nuorgam occurred at 11.46am and sunset was at 12.53pm on Friday, 18 January.

And finally, last Monday's super blood wolf moon also roused readers. Ursa said the full eclipse lasted about an hour. A 'super' moon occurs when the moon is especially close to earth, while a 'wolf moon' is the traditional name for the full moon of January. The next chance to see a total lunar eclipse in Finland will be in 2025.

If you have any questions, or would like to share something on your mind, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter account, or at

The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed.

This week's show was presented by Denise Wall and Zena Iovino. Our producer was Pamela Kaskinen, our interview with Ed Daniel was contributed by Denise Wall, and the sound technician was Juha Jäntti.

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