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November 13, 2022

Finnish Government Proposes Streamlining Extension of Temporary Protection for Ukrainians

The Finnish authorities have announced that the government has proposed streamlining the extension of temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Interior of Finland, a temporary amendment to the Aliens Act would ensure the validity of residence permits issued by the Finnish authorities for those eligible for temporary protection as long as the temporary protection is effective in the European Union.

In addition, the Ministry stressed that with the amendment, the country would be able to issue first residence permits directly for the entire validity period of the temporary protection, and pointed out that those who already hold a residence permit would not need to apply for an extension separately, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“Holders of residence permits can prove their right of residence with a residence permit card. With the amendment, the validity of the residence permit cards of those receiving temporary protection would also be extended for the duration of the residence permit,” the statement of the Ministry reads.

Commenting on the proposal, the Finnish Minister of Interior, Krista Mikkonen, said that it is Finland’s duty to support all refugees who have arrived in the country, and at the same time emphasised that since there is no end in sight to the war, the need for assistance will continue for a long period.

“From the viewpoint of both the people enjoying temporary protection and the Finnish Immigration Service, the most clear-cut solution is to ensure the validity of residence permits for the duration of the temporary protection, without any separate application procedure,” Minister Mikkonen added.

The European Union has already extended a directive on the temporary protection of refugees from Ukraine until March 2024 as well as has launched a pilot initiative to help Ukrainians secure employment in the EU.

Announcing the news on the extension of the temporary protection directive, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said earlier in October that Ukrainian refugees who return home will be able to maintain their protection as well as re-enter the EU whenever necessary, suggesting that they will not lose protection even if they return to Ukraine.

So far, Finland has issued around 41,000 residence permits to refugees from Ukraine on the basis of temporary protection. In addition, it has been estimated that the country will issue another 7,000 residence permits for refugees from Ukraine by the end of this year.

As for the overall data throughout the EU, the UN Refugee Agency shows that a total of 4,460,847 Ukrainian refugees have registered for temporary protection of similar national protection schemes in Europe as of November 1, 2022.

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