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Finnish Immigration Service prepares to put out to tender reception centres

Publication date 4.1.2024 9.31

At the beginning of 2024, the Finnish Immigration Service will be calling for tenders for the running of reception centres. The purpose of the upcoming procurement is not to increase the number of reception centres but to conclude the competitive tendering of services which was initiated in 2022.

The Finnish Immigration Service has previously put up for tender and awarded contracts for several sets of reception operations. In 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service has put out to tender reception centres for adults and families, reception centres for minors, and the provision of healthcare services for the reception system. Now, the Finnish Immigration Service will continue this project by putting out to tender reception centres for adults and families.

“Under the Act on Public Procurement, the Finnish Immigration Service is obliged to put out to tender reception centre operations. Competitive tendering will also contribute to the diversification of the range of service providers and make reception more cost-efficient,” says Elina Nurmi, Director of Reception Unit.

The Finnish Immigration Service will arrange the competitive tendering in cooperation with Hansel, the central purchasing body for the public administration in Finland. The procurement will be carried out using a dynamic purchasing system.

At present, Finland has altogether 93 reception centres, their secondary branches and service points for clients in private accommodation, as well as 20 reception units for minors. Approximately 36 000 people are currently registered as clients in the reception system, and 38 per cent of them live in private accommodation. Most clients are people who have fled Ukraine. 

The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for directing, planning and supervising the operations of the reception system. The reception centres maintained by the Finnish Immigration Service are located in Helsinki, Lappeenranta (Joutseno) and Oulu. The rest of the reception centres are run by other operators, such as organisations and private companies. 

Clients will be considered when making changes, many clients can move to a municipality

The clients of reception centres are either asylum seekers or seekers or beneficiaries of temporary protection. Clients can live in a reception centre, and the reception centre will provide them with reception services, such as health and social services, and, where appropriate, pay them their reception allowance. Instead of living in the reception centre, clients can choose to arrange their accommodation elsewhere.

“Every time when changes are made in the reception system due to public procurements, for example, we try to arrange matters so that the changes will cause our clients as little inconvenience as possible. However, putting services up for tender may result in some of the clients having to change reception centres if their own reception centre will close down,” says Nurmi.

In the end of November, approximately 17,000 Ukrainians who have been granted temporary protection were registered as clients of a reception centre but would currently have the right to apply for a municipality of residence in Finland. After getting a municipality of residence, they could start using the services of their municipality and their local wellbeing services county. A person who has been granted a municipality of residence in Finland is free to choose where he or she wishes to live. Such persons have the same rights and are entitled to the same services as other residents of the municipality. 

“Because the term of notice in the contracts of reception centres is at least three months, it is possible to inform clients for several month in advance if a reception centre is about to close. The aim of providing information well in advance is to ensure that clients can prepare for the changes and, if they so choose, move to a municipality,” says Nurmi.

Reception centres are meant to be used as temporary accommodation before a client can move to a municipality. For asylum seekers, this means that they will live in a reception centre until they get a positive decision and move to a municipality or until they get a negative decision and their reception services end. 

Ukrainians who receive temporary protection can apply for a municipality of residence and move to a municipality after living in Finland continuously for one year. However, Ukrainians do not have an obligation to apply for a municipality of residence.

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