Foreign residents acquiring Finnish citizenship in record numbers

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A Finnish passport. (Tuomas Hirvonen/Yle)
A record number of non-Finnish applicants were granted passports in 2017, according to Statistics Finland.

A total of 12,219 foreign nationals living permanently in Finland received their passports last year, an increase of 2,844 (30 percent) over 2016, when the previous record was set.

Russians accounted for the largest number of new Finnish passport holders at 2,758. Other commonly-represented countries included Somalia, Iraq and Estonia.

The number of new citizens has been rising each year for the past two decades. Compared to the 1990s when only 2,000 people gained citizenship, the figure is now around six times higher and rising.

Over 100,000 dual citizens

Almost all people who apply for Finnish citizenship also want to retain their previous nationality. Last year 98 percent of new passport recipients held dual citizenship.

At the end of 2017 there were 117,024 dual passport holders living in Finland.

There are currently 21,099 Finnish-born people with dual citizenship. In comparison, the majority of double passport holders – 95,925 of them – are people who have immigrated to Finland from abroad.

Dual citizens hail mostly from Russia (30,088), Sweden (7,759), Somalia (5,590), Estonia (5,291) and Iraq (4,152).

Related stories from around the North:

Finland: Should Russian dual citizens be barred from Finnish military’s upper ranks?, Yle News

Russia: Norwegian-funded school in Northwest Russia inspires cooperation, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s security service now screens all who apply for residency, Radio Sweden

United States: With Trump ending DACA program, uncertainty looms for Alaska’s few ‘dreamers’, Alaska Dispatch News

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