The outsourced reception of residence permit applications will be launched in Ankara, Turkey, on 1 December 2016, when a new Residence Permit Centre will open for Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi citizens. The services will be provided in partnership with VFS Global.
The Finnish Immigration Service has managed to swiftly reduce the backlog of asylum applications, which increased rapidly towards the end of 2015. The number of residence permit applications concerning family reunification has also increased. A pilot project concerning outsourcing of the reception of applications was launched in summer 2016 at the Finnish Embassy in Ankara to help its staff to cope with the additional workload caused by a substantial increase of applications and to be able to concentrate on performing the official duties related to the applications. Outsourcing will speed up the reception and processing of applications.
The technical and assisting support functions of the Residence Permit Centre include: providing general guidance to customers, managing appointments, collecting reception of fees and residence permit applications, entering the application data in the system, scanning appendices, collecting biometric identifiers, and photographing the applicant and having their signatures for the electronic further processing of the application. The Centre will also be responsible for the coordination of interviews and for the technical organization of possible video interviews. The Centre will serve also in Arabic and Kurdish.
Under the Aliens Act, an external service provider may charge a fee for its services. In Ankara, the fee will be EUR 50. The Residence Permit Centre will take care of the appointments already made at the Embassy but the transfer of these appointments will not be subject to any fee.
The Finnish public authorities will continue to have full power to formulate and make decisions and to exercise discretion in residence permit matters. A separate decision is required if the operational framework created during the project will be introduced elsewhere.