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Migri cracks down on illegal online sales of residence permit appointments

Migri said it was adopting measures to ease residence permit bottlenecks during the autumn and early next year.

Maahanmuuttovirasto / Migri / Ratapihantie 11 / Pasila / Helsinki 13.04.2020
Image: Jouni Immonen / Yle

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said on Thursday that it would cancel appointments that had been illegally sold or purchased online. The announcement came on the heels of news that reservations for immigration appointments were being sold online by unknown parties.

"We at the Finnish Immigration Service have recently been contacted [by people] telling us that our appointments are being sold online. This is unacceptable and we have begun to take various measures. We will be removing these and other superfluous reservations. Our time cannot be bought," head of Migri’s permits and citizenship unit Anna Lindström tweeted on Thursday.

Customers have run into major bottlenecks queuing for appointments for resident permits for purposes such as work and study in Finland. Some of the delays have been attributed to the coronavirus crisis, which made it impossible for applicants to attend in-person appointments when Finnish embassies and missions closed because of the pandemic.

However, Migri has long been subjected to criticism for delays in processing permits, particularly for foreign professionals and international students, even before the crisis.

Lindström said on Thursday that the situation would ease during autumn.

"During autumn and the beginning of the year we will ease the appointment situation by various means so that everyone who needs to do business at our service points will be able to do so smoothly," she added on Twitter.

According to Migri, 200 students were awaiting first-time residence permits as of 27 August, while the corresponding number for continuing permits was 785 as of the same date. Those figures will next be updated on 4 September.

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