NATURALLY, it is in a country’s best interests not to make it too easy to obtain citizenship, while any system for evaluating prospective citizens will of course have its supporters and detractors. Recent vague suggestions hinting at the possible introduction of a citizenship test in Finland has raised the profile of this issue in the media, and has made many ponder at what point Finnish nationality should be granted to a foreigner.
According to Statistics Finland, 3,400 foreign citizens permanently resident in this country received Finnish citizenship in 2009. This figure was 3,250 less than in 2008, although the numbers in 2008 were themselves particularly high. By far the largest group of foreign nationals receiving said nationality were Russians followed by Somalis, Iraqis and Afghanis. From within Europe between 100 and 200 Estonians, Serbs and Swedes received a Finnish citizenship.