Trafficking victims’ right of residence

Persons who have fallen victim to human trafficking can apply for a residence permit on that basis. Trafficking victims who are staying in Finland illegally can be granted a reflection period, which will legalise the victim’s stay in Finland for up to six months.

Residence permit for a victim of human trafficking

Persons who have fallen victim to human trafficking can apply for a residence permit on that basis. A resident permit can be granted to a trafficking victim who participates in the pre-investigation and court proceedings of the human trafficking offence and therefore must stay in Finland.

A permit can also be granted to a trafficking victim if the permit authority considers the victim to be in a particularly vulnerable position. In that case, the victim does not have to cooperate with the pre-trial investigation authority to receive a residence permit.

Trafficking victims who are in Finland can apply for the residence permit. These permits cannot  be applied from abroad.

Victims submit the permit application to the Finnish Immigration Service which will make a decision on the matter. For further information about residence permits for trafficking victims and other types of permits, visit the Finnish Immigration Service website.

The Assistance system for victims of human trafficking supports its customers in finding out whether they may have a right to stay in Finland and in applying for a new residence permit. Please note that the Assistance system does not make the decision on granting residence permits and it cannot influence such decisions.

Trafficking victim’s reflection period

Trafficking victims who are staying in Finland illegally (paperless persons) may be granted a reflection period. It will legalise the victim’s residence in Finland for up to six months. During this time, victims cannot be removed from the country against their will.

During the reflection period victims can recover from their experiences and decide whether they want to cooperate with the authorities to solve the trafficking crime committed against them. The Assistance system will not notify the police of the crime committed against the victim during the reflection period.

A reflection period may be granted by:

  • the Assistance system for victims of human trafficking to its own customers
  • a pre-trial investigation authority (the police, the Border Guard)

Victims cannot apply for the reflection period. The Assistance system can grant the reflection period on its own initiative when the victim is admitted to the Assistance system.

Please, note! The Assistance system must notify the police of the reflection period and its duration. Police is one of the authorities supervising the legality of a person’s stay in Finland. This is why it is important, that the police know that the customer’s stay in Finland is legal. The notification does not include other information about the customer or about the crime of which they have been a victim.

The reflection period may be withdrawn if victims of human trafficking have renewed their connections, voluntarily and on their own initiative, with persons suspected of human trafficking. The reflection period can also be withdrawn if the victim’s activities endanger public order and safety, public health or Finland’s international relations.

Provisions on the reflection period are given in sections 52 b and 52 c of the Aliens Act.