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Municipalities receive compensation for costs associated with the reception of people who have fled Ukraine

Publication date 5.5.2022 10.11 | Published in English on 11.5.2022 at 14.15

People who have fled Ukraine can receive accommodation services from a municipality without a reception centre being established in the municipality. The Finnish Immigration Service compensates municipalities for accommodation costs.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 21,000 applications for temporary protection have been submitted in Finland, mostly by Ukrainians. Those granted temporary protection are entitled to reception services. 

A municipality can now agree with a reception centre that the municipality provides beneficiaries of temporary protection with accommodation services according to the Act on the Reception of Persons Applying for International Protection. 

“This is the first time we are engaged in such agile and extensive cooperation with municipalities in reception matters. It is great that even many municipalities without experience in reception centres, for instance, have also decided to help those who have fled Ukraine,” says Elina Immonen, Deputy Director General and Acting Director General of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Why has a new reception model been introduced? 

Involving municipalities more closely in the arrangement of reception services is necessary as the number of people who have fled Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion and come to Finland is still expected to grow. 

In municipalities, there are already a lot of Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection in private accommodation or accommodation arranged by municipalities. In addition, there are Ukrainians in Finland who have not yet applied for temporary protection as Ukrainian nationals may reside in Finland without a visa for 90 days.  

“We want to make it possible for people who have fled Ukraine to live in locations where they have family or friends, employment or other ties,” says Senior Specialist Mari Helenius. 

The new model does not influence the timing of the assignment of a municipality of residence. No amendments have been made to the Municipality of Residence Act.

Reception centres continue to arrange social and healthcare services

All applicants or beneficiaries of temporary protection are registered at a reception centre even if they live in private or municipality-arranged accommodation.  

Municipalities may offer accommodation in furnished apartments arranged by them. A fixed fee (customer per day) covers all housing costs. No other fees may be charged of the customer for housing. The Finnish Immigration Service may also compensate municipalities for costs incurred by interpreting. 

People who have fled Ukraine receive healthcare services primarily from the reception centre and service providers chosen by the Finnish Immigration Service through competitive tendering. The reception centre also arranges necessary social services for them and sees to the payment of the reception allowance, for instance.

However, for years, municipalities have provided reception centre customers with some healthcare services, such as maternity and child health clinic and oral healthcare services. Municipalities will continue to be compensated for the costs of these services without a separate agreement.

The Finnish Immigration Service does not compensate municipalities for costs associated with early childhood education and care, teaching or employment services. 

Only municipalities can receive compensation

The Finnish Immigration Service pays compensation to the municipalities that have signed the agreement by directing the payments through the relevant reception centre. Compensation is paid only to municipalities and it applies only to services arranged for applicants or beneficiaries of temporary protection. Private individuals or other parties are not compensated for costs incurred by the arrangement of accommodation or other services. 

The Finnish Immigration Service may pay compensation starting from the date when the use of temporary protection started, in other words 4 March 2022. Municipalities and reception centres have signed agreements starting from May. Compensation is paid retroactively for March and April. The reception model is used temporarily.  

“We provide compensation and agreement guidelines directly to municipalities. In addition, we have organised webinars for municipalities and created an agreement template for cooperation between municipalities and reception centres,” says Helenius.

The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for the management, planning and monitoring of the reception system. The reception centres of the Finnish Immigration Service are located in Helsinki, Lappeenranta (Joutseno) and Oulu. The other reception centres are managed by organisations, municipalities and businesses. At the moment, there are 56 reception centres and service points for those staying in private accommodation as well as seven units for minors operating in Finland. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there were 20 reception centres in Finland. The number of units for minors has remained unchanged.

Fact sheet: 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 grants a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection. 
  • Work can be started as soon as the police or the border authorities have registered the application for 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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