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Cooperation between Population Data Authorities facilitates migration from one Nordic country to another - digitalisation has been utilised for nearly 15 years

17.5.2021 8.12 | Published in English on 18.5.2021 at 17.53
Press release

Nordic cooperation has a long history, which is also visible in cross-border daily life. Digital solutions have facilitated migration from one Nordic country to another already before digitalisation became mainstream.

Between the Nordic population data registers, the migrants' personal data transfers electronically. Therefore, paper certificates, regarding matters such as marriage or children, do not usually need to be delivered to the public authorities when moving to a new country.

"When you move from Finland to another Nordic country, you first submit a notification of move in Finland," explains Päivi Riehkalainen, registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. 

"After the move, you will visit the office of the local register authority to display your passport or ID card and submit a notification of migration. Once the change of residence has been registered, your personal data can be found in the population register of your new country. “

In addition, Nordic cooperation on migration also includes that a person moving from one Nordic country to another will not be left without a municipality of residence and the related services. The information concerning the municipality of residence also transfers in connection with the move, and if the new home country does not offer a municipality of residence, it will remain in the source country.

"The first Nordic agreement on migration was concluded already in the late 1960s. In 2007, the digital age began to transfer data electronically, "says Timo Salovaara, Deputy Director General at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. 

The migration between Finland and Sweden is particularly active. According to Statistics Finland's population statistics, there were almost 7,000 migrants between Finland and different Nordic countries in 2020, of which more than 5,000 moved from Finland to Sweden or vice versa.

"We would have to handout and receive quite a lot of paper extracts from the population register, if there was not for the electronic system. Not to mention the time and effort saved by the citizens," adds registrar Riehkalainen.

At the moment, the data is transmitted electronically in connection with the move, but, between the moves, information such as changing one's name, or the birth of a child is not transmitted to the person's home country. Finns must report this information to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency by themselves.

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency is currently leading a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, to find solutions and models for facilitating cross-border daily life through digitalisation and information exchange.

"The project focuses on three life events: Studying in another Nordic or Baltic country, using health services in another Nordic or Baltic country, and searching for statutes in another Nordic or Baltic country’s legislation. In the first phase, we will produce a situational picture report, which will be completed in autumn 2021. It examines the current situation and areas of cooperation in cross-border information exchange, "explains Project Manager Torbjörn Sandell from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. 

Participants of the project include, the Finnish National Board of Education, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Justice Finland.

Further information:
Nordic Migration (in finnish)
World’s smoothest cross-border mobility and daily life through digitalisation (vm.fi)

Nordic Migration Agreement: Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Deputy Director General Timo Salovaara, firstname.lastname[at]dvv.fi
World’s smoothest cross-border mobility and daily life through digitalisation project Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Project Manager Torbjörn Sandell, firstname.lastname[at]dvv.fi