The Finnish authorities have revealed that the country wants to introduce stricter laws for those who wish to obtain Finnish citizenship.
Announcing the government’s plan, the Minister of Interior of Finland, Mari Rantanen, said that Finnish citizenship is not automatic, stressing that everyone will be required to meet stricter requirements in order to be granted citizenship, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Tightening the conditions and encouraging integration will mean that it will no longer be as easy to obtain citizenship as now – and that is the goal.Minister Rantanen
Insisting that changes will not be “unreasonable”, Minister Rantanen said that amendments will be made to regulations in relation to residence time, income requirements, and probity, YLE explains.
According to the Ministry of Interior of Finland, the government led by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo wants to extend the residence time requirement for those who wish to gain Finnish citizenship. The residency requirement is to be raised from the current five years to eight years.
The key reform is the extension of the general residence time requirement to eight years instead of the current five. In the future, only stays with a residence permit would be accepted as a residence period. In addition, the number of days abroad accepted during the residence period would be reduced.
Finnish Ministry of Interior
The probity requirement will also be tightened. This means that a foreigner living in Finland must prove that they have not committed certain crimes in order to be eligible to obtain the country’s citizenship.
YLE notes that the government also wants to make it possible to revoke citizenship if an individual commits a serious crime or has obtained citizenship by providing false information.
The same also explained that the government is preparing a citizenship test, which will be similar to the test that some other EU countries use.
As Minister Rantanen said, the test will assess the general knowledge an applicant has of the society’s rules, the history and the political system of Finland.
The purpose of it [citizenship test] is to find out whether the person understands the operating principles and values of Finnish society. That the person is actually oriented towards Finnish society.
Applicants for citizenship are already required to pass the language test.
As for the level of income that applicants will be required to have in order to be able to obtain Finnish citizenship, Minister Rantanen did not specify an amount. However, she noted that benefits that are granted by the Social Insurance Institution will not be enough in the future.
Source : Schengenvisa