The government of Finland might further tighten up entry restrictions on Russian travellers, in order to make it impossible for these travellers to use loopholes in the existing restrictions.
Following the recent developments in the Russian Federation, authorities in Finland, like in the rest of the European Union Member States bordering Russia, have rushed to undertake the necessary measures to enhance security in its territory.
In a meeting held last Tuesday, on June 27, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy have amongst others discussed travel by Russian citizens to Finland and through Finland to the rest of the Schengen Zone.
“The President and the Ministerial Committee noted that travel by Russian citizens may still be harmful to Finland’s international relations. The restrictions on non-essential travel should therefore be kept in place and tightened to prevent breaches,” reads a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The same further explains that travel restrictions imposed on Russians on September 29, 2022 may soon be renewed, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Commenting on the restrictions for Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the director of consular services at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jussi Tanner, said on Tuesday that amongst the ‘loopholes’ that will be plugged, are those that enable travellers from Russia to enter on grounds of entrance exams, business travel and property maintenance.
According to him, soon Russian students will be eligible to enter Finland on grounds of entrance exams, only for degree programs, while those who claim they are entering for entrance exams to folk high schools, will not be permitted to do so.
“The number of Russians coming to entrance exams has increased so much that it’s obvious that we aren’t talking about genuine study-related travel,” he told HS.
Russians will also be prohibited from entering Finland with the purpose of doing business in other parts of the Schengen Area, due to the inability to prove that their need for business travel is genuine.
“Abuses have been detected also in business travel,” he said.
In spite of the travel restrictions that have been in place in Finland for Russian citizens since September 29 last year, Finland is amongst the top three countries that granted the highest number of Schengen visas to Russian passport holders.
Finland is not the only country planning to extend travel restrictions on Russian citizens, as Latvia has already extended an entry ban on Russians to March 2024. The same was scheduled to expire on June 30.
Schengen Visa statistics for 2022 show that the Finnish consular authorities in Russia have received 112,737 visa application, 105,323 of which have been approved. Only Spain (166,893) and Italy (117,167) received more applications in Russia in the same year.
>> Russians Obtained Over 600k Schengen Visas in 2022, 60% of Them From Finnish, Italian & Spanish Consulates