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Finnish Immigration Service put out to tender healthcare services and reception units for minors

Publication date 30.10.2023 12.03

The Finnish Immigration Service has issued procurement decisions on reception units for minors, known as group homes. The new group homes will start operating in November. The agency also invited tenders for the provision of healthcare services outside reception centres and detention units.

Group homes are small reception centres that provide accommodation for children who have arrived alone in Finland. One group home accommodates a maximum of 21 children. Children who have arrived in Finland with their families stay in the same reception centres as their parents or guardians. 

The first stage of the tendering process was carried out in four geographical areas in April 2023. The second stage, which has now been completed, involved group homes in 15 areas. The Finnish Immigration Service limited the number of areas in which one provider could win the competitive tendering. One provider could win five procurement categories. Tenders were received from five different tenderers.

“Through competitive tendering, the Finnish Immigration Service wants to contribute to a diversification of the range of service providers and make the operation more cost-efficient,” says Elina Nurmi, Director of Reception Unit. 

The value of the procurement is approximately EUR 210 million for a period of four years. The final sum depends on factors such as client numbers and the length of time that the reception centres will be in operation. The contracts awarded are valid until further notice.

The Finnish Immigration Service arranges competitive tendering in cooperation with Hansel, the central purchasing body for the public administration in Finland. The tendering process was carried out nationally using a dynamic purchasing system. Providers meeting a predetermined set of criteria can join the system during the entire validity period, that is, until 31 December 2027. 

New group homes to open in November

The group homes procured through a tendering process will open as of 1 November 2023. The service providers and the Finnish Immigration Service will agree on staggered dates for starting operations. The Finnish Immigration Service will also terminate the contracts with seven group homes as a result of the tendering process. 

“We do our best to avoid moving minors in all situations, also when contracts are terminated, and to help children and young people to develop attachment to the area,” Nurmi says.

In addition to the tendered group homes, the other units that will continue operating are the four units that were put out to tender earlier, two units within the framework agreement in force, and the Finnish Immigration Service’s own unit in Oulu. The group homes have 419 registered customers.

Finland has altogether 96 reception centres, their secondary branches and service points for clients in private accommodation, as well as 14 group homes. Approximately 42,464 people are currently registered as clients in the reception system. Of them, 39 per cent live in private accommodation and 11 per cent live in municipalities on the basis of agreements with municipalities (the ‘municipal model’). 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 other reception centres are maintained by, for instance, non-governmental organisations, Finnish municipalities and private companies.

Healthcare services outside reception centres and detention units 

The reception centres and detention units provide some of the healthcare services for their customers. Some are procured from external private healthcare services providers. In addition, specific services, such as specialised healthcare and school healthcare services are provided by the public sector, in practice the wellbeing services counties. 

In 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service again put out to tender specific external healthcare services that will be used in reception centres and detention units. Examples of such services are general practitioner services and various examinations. 

The service provider contract was awarded in all areas to Suomen Terveystalo Oy, the largest private healthcare provider in Finland. The Åland Islands were not included in the tendering process. Suomen Terveystalo Oy has also previously provided corresponding services after winning tendering contracts. 

Suomen Terveystalo Oy will provide these services under the new contract as of 1 November 2023.

Providers that won the second stage of the tendering process:

JST Aves Oy

  • Espoo (West Uusimaa) 
  • Vantaa/Kerava (Vantaa/Kerava)
  • Jyväskylä (Central Finland) the same service provider will continue
  • Kotka (Kymenlaakso)
  • Porvoo/Järvenpää/Kirkkonummi (East Uusimaa, West Uusimaa, Central Uusimaa)

Kotokunta Oy

  • Lahti (Päijät-Häme)
  • Hämeenlinna (Kanta-Häme)
  • Rovaniemi (Lapland)
  • Seinäjoki (South Ostrobothnia)
  • Joensuu (North Karelia)

Pohjanmaan Maahanmuuttokeskus Oy

  • Vaasa/Vöyri (Ostrobothnia) the same service provider will continue under the new contract, tentatively as of 1 January 2024

Babando Oy

  • Kokkola (Central Ostrobothnia)
  • Lappeenranta (South Karelia)
  • Pori/Rauma (Satakunta)
  • Kajaani (Kainuu)

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