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Helsinki Immigrant Services Backlogged

Police services for immigrants are suffering serious backlogs. In recent months immigrants have had to queue for hours at a time simply to file applications for residence.

Police say the slowdown is the result of a sharp rise in immigration.

In Helsinki, the immigration police centrally manage the same services as are handled by local offices elsewhere in the country. Since the largest concentration of foreign citizens live in the capital, this is also reflected in the increasing demand and increasingly long lines.

Police say that this winter, the number of people seeking immigration services has gone up by 5% to 10% a month.

This growth in demand has not been met by an increase in supply. The number of employees dealing with immigration affairs has actually fallen from previous levels.

In order to ease the situation, plans are in the works to introduce an electronic reservation system and more human resources, but even so, it is expected that the time to process applications will continue to get longer.

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