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Iraqis become largest group seeking Finnish citizenship

Iraqis have replaced Russians as the group lodging the highest number of citizenship applications in Finland.

Turvapaikanhakijoita Tornion järjestelykeskuksen edessä lokakuussa 2015
Asylum seekers waiting outside a reception centre in Tornio in 2015. Image: Kati Teirikko / Yle

For years Russians have made up the single largest group of people applying for Finnish citizenship, but so far this year Iraqis have been the most eager to gain Finnish nationality.

"Russians have led the citizenship application statistics practically always. This is why finding them replaced by Iraqi citizens is an almost historical event," Ulla Vainikka of Finnish Immigration Service Migri said in a statement.

Between January and October, Iraqis lodged 1,473 citizenship applications. While 972 Iraqi citizens applied for Finnish citizenship in 2018, in 2019 this figure was 1,588.

Iraqis who received international protection after arriving during the 2015 migrant crisis make up the majority of those applying for citizenship now. Finland requires that refugees reside in the country for at least four years to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

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