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Chamber of Commerce demands lower price for residence permits

The high fees are affecting Finland’s competitiveness in comparison to neighbouring countries, the chamber says.

Matkustajia saapuu Länsisatamaan.
According to the Central Chamber of Commerce, residence permit fees charged by Finland are many times higher than in Sweden and Estonia. Image: Jaani Lampinen / Yle

Finland’s Central Chamber of Commerce is calling for residence permit fees to be lowered so that they are at a more competitive level in relation to key competitor countries, such as Sweden and Estonia.

In a press release, the chamber said the cost of a first residence permit in order to work or study in Finland costs 520 euros, while the equivalent permit costs about 185 euros in Sweden and 125 euros in Estonia.

"Fees for residence permit applications are hardly anyone's primary criterion when considering a new country of residence, but they do also have an impact on the entire decision, which could affect Finland's attractiveness to expert foreign workers," the chamber's specialist Mikko Valtonen said in the release.

The chamber therefore suggested that Finland introduce a more targeted immigration policy, in which the government would set an annual quantitative target for expert-based immigration.

This figure could be about 30,000 immigrants a year coming to Finland to either work or study, the Chamber proposed, which would represent growth of about 30 percent compared to 2019.

"When you want to reach your goals by significantly increasing expert-based immigration, you have to fine-tune every little detail," Valtonen said. "This means that the residence permit process must be in order and that Finland’s country brand must be of interest to the world."

In October last year, the slowing processing of foreign experts' residence permits was labelled "a catastrophe" by Finnish gaming giant Supercell's CEO Ilkka Paananen.

In January this year, Finland's Immigration Service revealed that employment -- rather than study or family ties -- was the number one reason people applied for a residence permit. This continued the recent trend of increased work-based immigration into Finland.

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