The Finnish Immigration Service is preparing to receive minors from the Mediterranean region – accommodation capacity is being increased
The Finnish Immigration Service is expanding the current reception centres for children without a guardian. In addition, a new group home will be established. All in all, new places will be established for approximately one hundred asylum seekers who are minors, because the relocations from the Mediterranean region will start during the spring.
On 27 February 2020, the Government decided that Finland would receive 175 vulnerable asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. Finland will primarily receive children without a guardian and single-parent families.
The location of the new group home has not been decided yet. The accommodation capacity of the current reception centres in different parts of Finland will be increased.
According to the plan at the moment, the accommodation capacity in reception centres will be expanded as follows:
- Espoo group home and supported housing unit, City of Espoo, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 24)
- Hämeenkyrö, Municipality of Hämeenkyrö and the Finnish Red Cross, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 30)
- Kotka, City of Kotka, expansion: 15 places (total number of places: 36)
- Oravainen, Municipality of Vöyri, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 38)
- Oulu group home and supported housing unit, expansion: 14 places (total number of places: 14)
- Turku group home and supported housing unit, expansion: 14 places (total number of places: 21)
The total accommodation capacity for minors will double. At the moment, there are five housing units for minors with a total of 90 places.
Most of the minors will be received from the refugee camps in Greece
Unaccompanied asylum seekers who are minors coming to Finland usually live in group homes intended for minors or in supported housing units. In the units, children and adolescents will have access to support services and any other treatment services they need.
The aim is to carry out the first relocations from the Mediterranean countries most likely in May–June. Not all people will arrive in Finland at the same time. It is estimated that it will take a few months to arrange the relocations.
Most of the children without guardians will be received from the refugee camps in Greece, where the refugee situation is acute. Relocations may also occur from Cyprus, Malta and Italy.
‘The Finnish Immigration Service is well prepared to take in the asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. In previous years, we have worked together with Greek and Italian authorities to arrange internal relocations,’ says internal relocation coordinator Monna Airiainen, from the Finnish Immigration Service.
The coronavirus situation will be taken into account in the relocations
The coronavirus situation will be taken into account in arranging the relocations. Before the relocation and after arrival in Finland, everyone will be given a health examination that includes coronavirus testing. During the epidemic, special attention will be paid to the symptoms of coronavirus in the examinations.
Before they are moved to the centre, minors will also be quarantined for 14 days. The quarantine will be implemented in conditions similar to an ordinary group home.
Fact: Asylum applications to be processed in the normal manner
- The asylum process begins when an asylum seeker has arrived in Finland. The asylum applications will be processed in the same way as those of all other asylum seekers. The only difference is that the Dublin procedure will not be applied, meaning that Finland will be the state responsible for processing the applications.
- The need for international protection will be assessed as part of the individual process, which includes an asylum interview. If an asylum seeker is a minor, s/he will be appointed an accompanying representative in the asylum interview.
Further information for the media
- Asylum Unit, internal relocation coordinator Monna Airiainen, email: [email protected], tel. +358 295 433 037
- Reception Unit, Senior Adviser Mikko Välisalo, email: [email protected], tel. +358 295 433 037