The number of Russians buying properties in Finland is growing at a rapid pace amid threats of a Schengen visa ban.
Finnish local media revealed that Russian citizens made 212 real estate transactions in the first seven months of 2022, from January to July 2022.
This is a significant increase from 2021, as throughout the previous year Russians bought 222 properties in Finland, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
According to YLE News, the highest number of transactions so far this year have been made in the South Karelia region, located near the Finnish-Russian border. Of all the towns in this region, the town of Imatra was revealed to be the most popular destination for Russians looking to buy property.
The same source points out that it is particularly surprising that Russians buy properties in Finland because, due to the sanctions that have been imposed, money cannot be transferred from the bank cards of Russians who do not work in Finland.
Citizens of non-EU countries, including Russians, must apply for a permit in order to purchase property in Finland. According to the Finnish Ministry of Defence, the permit costs a few hundred euros and the processing of the permit can take several months.
While other countries have already imposed entry restrictions on Russians, the Finnish authorities have recently decided to do so.
Finland’s foreign minister said last week that a plan to limit the issuance of tourist visas for Russians had been tabled for discussion.
News of the proposal came shortly after the ministry said Finland was being used as a transit country to reach other EU destinations. The number of border crossings has particularly increased after Russia lifted its COVID-related restrictions.
Data shows that from July 15 to August, border traffic between Russia and Finland increased by 40%.
So, given these figures, as well as after taking into account the proposed plan, the Finnish government has decided to limit the number of tourist visas granted to Russians from September.
While Finland has decided to limit only the number of visas granted to Russians, Estonia has decided to no longer issue visas for tourist purposes. Estonian authorities have said that from August 18, the country will no longer issue visas to Russian citizens.
In addition, they pointed out that Russians holding a visa issued by Estonia will not be allowed to enter the country.