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More than 50,000 have applied for temporary protection in Finland

Publication date 17.2.2023 11.54

24 February 2023 will mark one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. By 15 February 2023, those who have fled the war in Ukraine had lodged 50,361 applications for temporary protection in Finland.

49,405 of the applications were lodged by Ukrainian citizens and 956 by citizens of other countries. By 15 February 2023, a total of 46,194 decisions had been made on the first applications. 

A considerable share (62 %) of those applying for and receiving temporary protection are children and their mothers. Some children have also arrived in Finland without a guardian, usually accompanied by relatives or family friends. All in all, about one in three arrivals are children. 

In January, the Finnish Immigration Service announced its extension of residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection until 4 March 2024. As the permits will be automatically extended, those who have fled Ukraine do not need to do anything to get their permit extended. At the start of the year, automation helped achieve 42,433 decisions in five days.

“The residence permit cards of those receiving temporary protection will also be valid until March next year. If they wish, they can apply for a new card. More than 12,000 have already applied for a new card in the Enter Finland service,“ says Minna Serradj, Regional Head of the Asylum Unit.

With a residence permit card, clients can prove their legal residence in Finland and, for example, their right to work.

Option of securing a municipality of residence

Tens of thousands of people who have fled the war in Ukraine will be able to apply for a municipality of residence this year after staying in Finland for one year. The first of them will be able to apply for a municipality of residence as soon as from 1 March 2023 onwards. With a municipality of residence, those granted temporary protection will be entitled to more extensive services than in the reception centre.

After being issued a municipality of residence, Ukrainians will receive their services from the municipality and the wellbeing services county and will no longer be clients of the reception centre. Applying for a municipality of residence is voluntary. If the client does not apply for a municipality of residence, they will remain a client of the reception centre and continue receiving services in that way.

Estimate: 30,000–40,000 applicants of temporary protection in 2023

According to the data of the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, a total of more than 8 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Nearly 4.8 million people have applied for temporary or similar protection. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will also impact Finland in the future. In recent months, the weekly numbers of applicants have remained between 400 and 500 people. According to an estimate by the Finnish Immigration Service, about 30,000–40,000 applicants of temporary protection will arrive in Finland in 2023.

Reception centres will be set up and maintained according to the need. At the moment, there are 112 reception centres, their secondary branches and service points for people in private accommodation, and nine reception units for minors. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there were 20 reception centres and seven units for minors in Finland.

“It’s still difficult to precisely estimate the final number of applicants this year as well as the number of those applying for a municipality of residence. We’re prepared to increase or decrease the capacity of the reception system according to the situation,” says Elina Nurmi, Director of the Reception Unit.

Fact: Temporary protection for those who have fled Ukraine

  • In Finland, applicants must contact the police or the border authorities to apply for temporary protection. After this, the Finnish Immigration Service makes a decision on temporary protection.
  • Temporary protection can be granted to Ukrainian nationals unable to return to Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion.
  • Protection can also be granted to nationals of countries outside the European Union and not party to the Schengen Agreement and stateless persons who have legally resided in Ukraine and fled the country due to Russia’s invasion and whose safe and permanent return to their country of origin is not possible.
  • Protection can also be granted to family members of Ukrainian nationals and of those granted international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, if the family ties were established in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion.

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