Finnish Expatriate Parliament

How does the Finnish Expatriate Parliament work?

Those expatriate Finnish organisations follow the activities of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament (FEP), tha is have ratified FEP By-laws (rules), can submit initiatives to the parliamentary session. The initiatives can suggest changes or improvements on any topic that is considered important to expatriate Finns.

The initiatives are considered during the session first in committees and then approved, amended or rejected at the plenary session. When an initiative has been approved by the parliament it becomes a resolution. The task of the Speakers' Council is to promote the resolutions together with the Secretariat and suggest changes to the Finnish authorities.

The structure of the FEP

According to the rules book there are ten standing committees within the parliamentary session. From the initiatives left to the Secretariat the committees prepare motions for resolutions and present them to the plenary session for processing: change, and rejection or acceptance. The geographical representation of each FEP area (8) must be guaranteed within the committees. Committees are listed here  

What issues are on the Finnish Expatriate Parliament's agenda?

The lobbying activities of the FEP are based on the resolutions adopted at the FEP sessions.

In addition, the Speakers' Council and the Secretariat follow actively between the sessions current expatriate issues and react to them.

An important document for the work of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament is The Government Policy Programme for Expatriate Finns 2012-2016 . Our work strives to have it updated from the beginning of year 2017 and so that it shall be adopted within all fields of government.

Read more about what's on the work agenda of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament at our resolutions page . Under every Session year, there is a Summary of Resolutions while resolutions are grouped also by Committee, that is by theme. Every Resolution begins with a bacground and ends in resolution proposal.

More about our earlier work is found in the work report of the Secretariat and of the Speakers' Council for the 2012-2015: Sihteeristön raportti 2015 (in English), as well in earlier 2010-2012 report .

Current news about present work you find under What's new

Some examples of core issues the FEP has worked with or is still engaged with:

In search of current news and more about our current advocacy work like the spring 2015 parliament session? You can read more under 'Session 2015' (see left side bar) and under 'What's new?' (at top of this page). 

Dual citizenship

Ever since the FEP was founded in 1997, this question has been part of the parliament’s agenda and on the 24th of January 2003 a very important milestone was reached when the Finnish parliament approved the new citizenship law. This law makes it possible for an expatriate Finn to maintain his/her citizenship when acquiring a new one.

Since September 1st, 2011 a former Finnish citizen can apply to have his or her old Finnish citizenship reinstated even though h/she is now resident outside of Finland. This possibility is also granted to under-aged children of former Finnish citizens. Adult children or grandchildren do not have this possibility of gaining their parent's or grandparent's Finnish citizenship without residence in Finland.

More information

Postal voting for Expatriate Finns

The turnout of Finnish Expatriates in elections is well under 10%. An important reason for this low voter turnout has been the lack of voting facilities. More polling stations is a step in the right direction but postal voting would make using one’s vote abroad even easier. Information about elections and the candidates to expatriate voters should also be enforced.

More information  

Support for Finnish and Swedish Language Schools

The Parliament supports a rise in state aid to Suomi Schools that will adequately reflect the needs. Support for the schooling of Finnish children and their native language abroad is one of the most important tasks of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament. 

Application for Finnish passports abroad

News brief of 16. October 2014!
The draft law (bill) on passports is currently deliberated at the Parliament. Electronic service in passport application process is being widened according to the Ministry. In the future for example passport applcation can be initiated electronically. Possibility of widening electronic service will also be looked at in relation to ID card.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Interior has set up a working group to clarify the need to change the law on ID card, such as should finger prints be adopted as biometrical identifiers in ID card. Because the ID card and passport are both used to prove identity and right of travel, also the need to unify these documents in terms of their security aspects will be studied.
The Police can grant an ID card to Finnish citizen and according to law on home residence also to a foreigner permanently resident in Finland and who is listed in population data base and whose identity has been trustworthily proven. Finnish ID card is also a travel document within the European Union. Now also the prerequisites of granting an ID card on basis of a foreigner's ID card and trustworthy identification will be looked at. Part of foreigners who have been granted right of residence has have not received a Finnish foreigner's ID card, because their identity has not been trustworthily proven due to lack of national passport or identity document.
Simultaneously, the intention is to look at the the possibility of widening the authority to grant ID cards by Finland's foreign representations. Embassies grant passports but an ID card can according to currently valid law be only granted by the Police.
The working party ends its duty on 30. June 2005 - staying tuned.

(Also, look at 'What's up?' section: Finnish Expatriate Parliament and Finland Society statement of 11.3.2014 regarding the Ministry of the Interior's proposal to amend the passport law and the law regarding the handling of personal data by the police.)

From the 21st of August 2006, Finland has switched to biometric passports. This reform has brought with it considerable problems for many expatriate Finns. Passports can only be applied for at embassies and consulates and they have to be applied for in person.

The Finnish Expatriate Parliament has repeatedly asked the Foreign Ministry to get more passport machines to those areas where there are more Finns and the distances to the nearest embassy is long. Already the price of a passport issued abroad is higher than in Finland, 140 € (160€ for rapid treatment). If travel and accommodation costs for travelling is added, the price of the passport becomes exhuberant.

More information

Expatriate seniors

Within the Finnish Expatriate Parliament work is going on in trying to meet the demands and needs of the aging expatriate population. 

Taxation of Expatriate Finns

From the 1st of Febuary 2006 the taxation of Finnish pensions paid abroad has changed as a result of the EU’s equality principle and the FEP’s activities. From this date, pensions are taxed in the same way as pensions paid in Finland, ie. progressively. This reform has meant that the taxation of the majority of Finnish pensions paid abroad has eased significantly. If Finland has a taxation treaty with the state of residence, the new legislation has no impact on the taxation.

The Finnish Expatriate Parliament is still committed to monitoring the repercussions of the new legislation and possible negative effects as well as the Finnish taxation's effects on expatriate Finnish tax payers.

More information (For the time being only in Finnish) 

Finnish Radio and TV Broadcasts Abroad

The Finnish Expatriate Parliament has expressed its concern over the fact that especially since Radio Finland ceased its transmissions the programming aimed at expatriate Finns has suffered. The goal of the FEP is that Expatriate Finns can keep in touch with current events and the Finnish society in a realistic manner. To be able to follow Finnish media abroad is important to maintain contact with Finnish society.

More information

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Ulkosuomalaisparlamentin pysyvä sihteeristö / Utlandsfinländarparlamentets permanenta sekretariat
/ Permanent Secretariat of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament
Mariankatu 8, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358-(0)9-684 1210, Fax: +358-(0)9-684 121 40

Päivitetty: 21.12.17 Webmaster