Skip to Content

Finland grants temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine – instrument used for the first time

Publication date 9.3.2022 15.48 | Published in English on 17.3.2022 at 17.01

Finland grants temporary protection for those fleeing Russia’s war in Ukraine. This is the first time that the EU has activated the instrument under the Temporary Protection Directive. Finland has also never granted residence permits for temporary protection before.

The process for granting temporary protection is significantly quicker than the regular asylum process.

‘It’s important that the EU reacted quickly to the large number of Ukrainian refugees. Granting temporary protection is a humane response to the conflict in Ukraine and it helps ensure that the asylum systems of EU Member States are not overloaded with the large number of asylum applications submitted by those fleeing Ukraine,’ says Antti Lehtinen, Director of the Asylum Unit.

‘The decision also helps prevent delays in the processing of asylum applications submitted by other people needing international protection,’ continues Lehtinen.

Temporary protection is different from seeking asylum

Temporary protection and seeking asylum are two different things. Temporary protection is granted for a restricted group, and no individual assessment on the need of protection is conducted as in the regular asylum process.

Just like other asylum seekers, a person under temporary protection can live at a reception centre or find a place to stay themselves, in which case the term ‘private accommodation’ is used. People under temporary protection are eligible for the different reception centre services, such as healthcare, social services and reception allowance. Temporary protection also includes a right to work after gaining a residence permit.

The first temporary protection residence permit is granted for five years. According to the decision of the Council of the European Union, residence permits based on temporary protection can be granted until 4 March 2023, but the EU can extend this deadline, if necessary.

The number of people applying for temporary protection is hard to predict 

Currently, it is difficult to predict how many Ukrainians will apply for temporary protection in Finland. Only a small share of people fleeing Ukraine have come to Finland so far. Finland may not be the preferred destination of Ukrainian refugees, unless they have pre-existing connections here, such as family or a job. Authorities are keeping a close eye on the situation.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian refugees submitted 332 asylum applications in Finland. This year, a total of 1,326 asylum applications have been submitted by Ukrainians (as of 9 March 2022). Those who have already applied for asylum are being instructed to apply for temporary protection.

Not all Ukrainians who have arrived in Finland have applied for asylum. Ukrainians can stay in Finland without a visa for three months. They may also have some other grounds for a residence permit, such as a job or a family member in Finland.

The Finnish Immigration Service has published instructions for applying for temporary protection on its website.

Fact: Temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine

  • Temporary protection is sought from the Finnish Police or Border Guard. After this, the Finnish Immigration Service will grant a temporary protection residence permit.
  • Temporary protection can be granted to Ukrainians who cannot return to Ukraine due to Russia’s attack on the country.
  • Temporary protection based on Russia’s attack on Ukraine can be granted to citizens of the European Union, citizens of countries not party to the Schengen Agreement, and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine legally and whose return to the relevant country of origin safely and permanently is not possible.
  • Temporary protection can also be granted to family members of Ukrainian citizens and of those granted international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, if the family ties were established in Ukraine before Russia’s attack.  

Further information for the media

This press release was published in Finnish on 9 March.