As a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, UK citizens living in Finland must submit a separate application for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. The Government submitted a proposal on the matter to Parliament on Thursday, 11 June 2020.
According to the proposal, UK citizens with a registered EU right of residence in Finland must apply to exchange the previous registration based on the right of residence in the EU for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. The purpose of the application procedure is to verify that the applicant has the right of residence under the new agreement, the Ministry of the Interior said in a press release.
A permanent EU right of residence requires that a person has resided in Finland for a period of five years. Those who have a certificate demonstrating their permanent EU residence right would not be required to apply for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement.
However, the Ministry says that application would nevertheless be recommended for those in this situation so that they too could demonstrate their right of residence as conveniently as possible when going about their business in Finland and at the Schengen external border. Application would be free of charge for these people.
5,000 UK citizens in Finland
The proposal will affect approximately 5,000 UK citizens living in Finland. After having been granted a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, UK they could continue their stay in Finland after the transitional period ends at the end of 2020. The right of residence would be granted for life. But it would only be valid in Finland.
The Act is scheduled to enter into force on 1 September 2020. The aim is that applications for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement could be submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) from 1 October 2020 to 30 June 2021. The application period has been extended by three months from the date originally planned.
At this point, it is sufficient for UK citizens to register their right of residence in the EU, and such registrations are accepted for the time being. Instructions on how to register are available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service.
Provisions must be enacted nationally
The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU entered into force on 1 February 2020 and is directly applicable law in the EU Member States.
However, the withdrawal agreement contains provisions, the implementation and application of which must be decided separately by each Member State. The aim is now to enact a law on the implementation and application of the provisions on the right of residence in Finland.
According to the withdrawal agreement, the permit procedures must be quick and user-friendly and the fees for processing applications must be reasonable. Further provisions on processing fees will be laid down separately in the Ministry of the Interior’s Decree on Fees Charged for Services Provided by the Finnish Immigration Service.