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Finland: Stricter requirements for family reunification on their way

The Finnish government is tightening the requirements for family reunification as it anticipates a flood of applications from refugees hoping to live with their families.

In addition to strict regulations introduced over the past few years, such as a certain level of income in order to be entitled to family reunification for persons living in Finland with a residence permit, the government will add new rules as of next year.

The bill introduced by the Interior Ministry contains the following main measures:

  • Proof of a home in Finland;
  • Minimum duration of residency in Finland (EU directive recommends a period of two years);
  • Proof of an active involvement in integration programmes, although the exact definition remains unknown.

The latter might involve oral and written language competences and tests, even for arriving family members, to be aligned with EU directive on family reunification. This will be challenging for some groups of asylum seekers.

Finland has roughly received 32,000 asylum applications this year.