Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen may be looking to tighten Finland’s criteria for awarding dual citizenship, or even overturn the practice altogether, Yle understands.
Räsänen announced that her officials at the Interior Ministry are investigating whether the government should introduce new restrictions on who is allowed to acquire Finnish citizenship. The move is understood to be linked to a sharp rise in the numbers of Russians granted citizenship in Finland in recent years.
Yle has been told that possible problems regarding dual citizenship have been flagged up by parliament’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, which is chaired by President Niinistö. Citizenship-related issues, however, fall under the remit of the Interior Ministry.
Räsänen announced on Thursday that she has asked for clarification about the recent rise in citizenship applications, and any possible associated problems.
”I want to map out what the situation is and what the practical implications would be if this legislation was overturned,” Räsänen said.
”The questions being looked into are what it would mean in practice, which direction other countries are are going in, and what sort of international obligations Finland is bound by. This is simply an information-gathering exercise to ascertain the possibilities,” she said.
Latest figures put the number of overseas citizens living in Finland at around 200,000. Around 60,000 have dual citizenship, of whom a third are Russian nationals.
Awards of dual citizenship to Russians have increased markedly in recent years, with 2,103 Russian nationals being granted Finnish citizenship last year. The second largest group was Somali nationals, with 814 successful applications.