New legislation to clarify the determination of municipality of residence – express your opinions on the proposed legislative amendments
The new Municipality of Residence Act would introduce more specific provisions on how people’s municipality of residence and place of residence are determined. The conditions for being assigned a municipality of residence would remain unchanged. A person’s municipality of residence would still be the municipality in which they reside.
The Ministry of Finance is now inviting comments and opinions on the reform of the Municipality of Residence Act. Public authorities, businesses and non-governmental organisations are invited to submit comments via the lausuntopalvelu.fi website, while citizens can express their opinions by completing a survey at otakantaa.fi. The deadline for the surveys is 20 October 2023. The new legislation would replace the original Municipality of Residence Act, which dates back to 1994.
The Municipality of Residence Act provides how the municipality of residence – and place of residence in that municipality – are determined for all persons residing in Finland on a permanent basis. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency and the State Department of Åland record this information in the Population Information System, and it establishes the foundation for a number of rights and obligations. A person can currently have only one municipality of residence, and this would still be the case under the proposed amendments.
A move notification will need to be submitted whenever a person’s place of residence changes
The aim of the new Municipality of Residence Act is to ensure that the Population Information System entries concerning a person’s municipality of residence and place of residence are up to date. The accuracy of the entries is important because a person’s municipality of residence determines their access to the services provided by the municipality and wellbeing services county, for instance. Examples of such services include daycare, school, social services and healthcare services. A person’s electoral district and polling station are also determined by their municipality of residence.
Under the new Act, everyone who moves to a different place of residence would be required to submit a move notification regardless of how long they will reside in the new location. Equally, a move to a different municipality would result in a change of the municipality of residence. However, the obligation to submit a move notification would only apply to actual moving, not spending the summer at a holiday home, for example.
A person who is moving could keep their previous municipality of residence only if the duration of residence in a different municipality does not exceed one year and the person indicates they wish to keep their previous municipality of residence. For example, this could apply to working or studying in a different municipality for less than one year, followed by a return to the municipality the person moved from.
The determination of municipality of residence for foreign nationals will be clarified
The new Act would lay out more specific terms on how foreign nationals can be assigned a municipality of residence in Finland. Under the amended legislation, being assigned a municipality of residence would always be conditional on the foreign national holding a residence permit or residence card, or that they have registered their right of residence in Finland with the Finnish Immigration Service.
In accordance with the Government Programme, the proposed Act includes a provision under which an entry concerning a foreign national’s municipality of residence could be removed from the Population Information System if they no longer fulfil the conditions for being assigned a municipality of residence. In practice, this would apply when a person has moved away from Finland for a period exceeding one year, or when they no longer have the right of residence in Finland.
The new legislation would also specify the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s right to access information from other authorities.
After the new Act has been circulated for comments, it will be finalised and it is scheduled to be submitted to the Parliament in the autumn. The amendments would enter into force on 1 August 2024.
The reform of the Municipality of Residence Act has been prepared in working groups consisting of representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of the Interior, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the Finnish Immigration Service, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Association of Finnish Municipalities and, starting from 1 January 2023, Hyvinvointialueyhtiö Hyvil Oy, which serves the wellbeing services counties.
Ville Koponen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2955 30504, ville.koponen(at)gov.fi
Marja Liukko, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 2955 30090, marja.liukko(at)gov.fi