Family Reunification

In my first post, I wrote about the importance of family to integration and now thought to go further. Based on the comments, I came to this solution. So thank you for your comments and thoughts:) I find the topic interesting and current. The subject is also very familiar to me, it is close to my family.

Image: Riitta Järnström

According to Ministry of the Interior, family members of Finnish or foreign citizens are eligible for family reunification. Family member living in Finland is called the sponsor. Only the applicants, who are living abroad, may submit applications themselves for residence permits on the basis of family ties. (Ministry of the Interior). The persons considered family members of a Finnish citizen and a foreign national who is not an EU citizen, are a spouse, a registered partner, a cohabiting partner, a guardian of a child under 18 years of age and a child. The legal definition of an EU citizen´s family members is different and EU citizens do not need a residence permit in Finland. (Finnish Immigration Service).

A general precondition for family reunification in Finland is that sponsors are able to provide for their family members, which means that sponsors must have sufficient income. The word sponsor refers to a family member living in Finland with whom the applicant intends to live a family life. (Ministry of Interior). To my ear, the word sponsor sounds like someone who has almost unlimited money to fund another person’s life. And what about children coming to Finland who are entitled to family reunification?

The approximate amounts required, in euros, are determined by the Finnish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. A person and his or her family must have sufficient resources to live in Finland. For example, income can come from employment, private enterprise, funds or pensions. (Finnish Immigration Service). You can see the income requirements here. I think the income requirements are too high and almost impossible to achieve. Of course, when a child is a family gatherer, there are no income requirements.

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the child is in principle entitled to live with his or her parents. The right of a separated child to meet both parents must be respected. If the child and his or her parents have ended up in different countries, applications for family reunification must be dealt with in a positive, humane and urgent manner. (Pelastakaa Lapset ry). Unfortunately, the criteria for family reunification have been tightened and these fancy conventions are not always implemented in practice. This is not an easy topic and it is certainly difficult to make decisions. It remains to be seen where the situation develops in the future.

Image: Riitta Järnström


Finnish Immigration Service. 2019. Accessed 27.10.2019.

Ministry of the Interior. 2019. Accessed 27.10.2019.

Pelastakaa Lapset ry. 2019. Accessed 27.10.2019.

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