Hyppää sisältöön

Residence Permit, Asylum Applications Soared in 2008

The number of foreigners seeking asylum or residence permits rose briskly last year.

Kuva: YLE

In 2008, nearly 23,000 foreigners applied for residence permits, while some 4,000 applied for asylum. The latter rose particularly steeply compared with 2007, according to figures released Friday.

Residence applications totalled 22,904, up by more than 2,300 from a year earlier. The most commonly cited reasons were family ties, work or studies. The biggest increases were in applications based on study or family ties, which were both up by about one fifth.

The largest numbers of applicants were from Russia, China and India. Residence permits were granted to 85 percent of applicants.

Spike in Asylum-Seekers

Last year 4,035 people applied for asylum, 706 of them minors who arrived on their own. In 2007 there were a total of 1,505 asylum-seekers. The largest growth was in applications from Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eighty-nine asylum applications were approved, up from 68 the year before.

Nearly 22,000 people applied for Finnish citizenship under a temporary arrangement whereby those who had lost it by taking on another nationality could regain it. Their children were also eligible to gain dual citizenship in this manner.

The five-year window of opportunity for such reclamation ended in May, 2008.

The biggest numbers of such applicants were from Sweden, the United States and Canada. Due to a last-minute rush, processing of these citizenship notifications became heavily backlogged. By the end of last year, nationality had been restored to nearly 13,000 expatriates or their offspring.

The state approved the plan in the hopes of encouraging immigration by working-age individuals with a background in the Finnish language and culture. They considered likely to adapt more quickly into the workforce as the nation faces a looming labour shortage.