Over 35,000 have applied for temporary protection in Finland – more customers within reception system than ever before
More than 37,000 persons are currently registered in the reception system, which is more than ever before. Before this, the highest number of customers within the reception system was recorded in 2015, when over 32,000 asylum seekers arrived in Finland.
By 4 August, those fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian military attack had submitted 35,074 applications for temporary protection.
All applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection are registered at a reception centre, even if they live in private accommodation or in accommodation provided by a municipality. Most applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection, approximately 65%, are currently living outside the reception centres.
Reception centres offer all applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection reception services, such as health care and social services. Reception centres can also provide information, advice and guidance in various everyday issues.
Reception centres are established and maintained as needed
At the moment, there are altogether 77 reception centres, their secondary branches and service points for people in private accommodation, and 8 reception units for minors. Prior to the Russian attack on Ukraine, there were 20 reception centres and 7 units for minors in Finland.
“The aim is that the number of established and maintained reception centres corresponds to the existing need. However, the need for reception capacity varies for many reasons,” says Olli Snellman, Head of Section at the Reception Unit.
The need for reception capacity is affected by the number of applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection needing accommodation and by the fact that some beneficiaries of temporary protection also leave Finland temporarily or permanently. To be prepared to respond to the need quickly, it is wise to have possibilities to expand the operation of the centres and to have some empty beds that can be taken into use if necessary. Readiness to establish new reception centres is also needed at all times.
“In the near future, for example, the end of the seasonal work season may increase the need for reception capacity. As of next spring, however, it is to be expected that a large number of beneficiaries of temporary protection will be leaving the reception system and moving to municipalities,” says Snellman.
The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for directing, planning and supervising the operations of the reception system. The Finnish Immigration Service reception centres are located in Helsinki, Lappeenranta (Joutseno) and Oulu. The other reception centres are maintained by organisations, Finnish municipalities, and companies.
One third of those fleeing Ukraine are children
A substantial proportion of applicants and beneficiaries of temporary protection are children and their mothers. Some children have arrived in Finland without a guardian, but most of them have come with their relatives or family friends. Altogether about one third of refugees from Ukraine are children.
“The children can go to school in Finland. If necessary, the reception centre helps with getting a place at a school,“ says Snellman.
The relative proportion of children has declined a little from the beginning of the Russian attack, whereas the number of working-age refugees has increased.
“Beneficiaries of temporary protection have the right to services provided by a TE office to help them integrate and find employment. The Finnish Immigration Service encourages people to actively use these services,” says Snellman.
Among those fleeing from Ukraine there are also groups with special needs. For instance, some dozens of elderly people and persons with memory disorders, intellectual disability or severe injuries have arrived in Finland. These people have needed services provided by care units outside the reception centres.
Number of applicants has remained quite stable
The Finnish Immigration Service has made 33,480 decisions on temporary protection. Thus, approximately 95% of applicants have received a decision on their application.
“On a weekly basis, the number of temporary protection applications has varied more during the summer than during the spring, but on a monthly basis the numbers have remained roughly the same since May. The weekly number of applications has varied between under 700 and 1,400, whereas the monthly number of applications is around 4,500 on average,” says Antti Lehtinen, Director of Asylum Unit.
Nearly all decisions on temporary protection are positive (33,231). Also some negative decisions have been issued. Applicants who have received a negative decision are nationals of countries other than Ukraine. In addition, a small share of applications have expired because the applicant has cancelled their application.
At the moment, a decision on temporary protection is issued within a week in a typical case where no additional information is needed. However, the applicant has the right to work immediately after they have registered their temporary protection application with the police or border control authorities. When a person fleeing from Ukraine is granted temporary protection, he or she is also given a Finnish personal identity code.
Facts: Temporary protection for people fleeing from Ukraine
- In Finland, temporary protection can be applied for by contacting the police or the border control authorities. After this, the Finnish Immigration Service makes a decision on temporary protection.
- Temporary protection can be granted to Ukrainian citizens unable to return to Ukraine due to the Russian attack.
- It can also be granted to citizens of countries outside the European Union, citizens of countries not party to the Schengen Agreement, and stateless persons who have fled the Russian attack, if they have resided in Ukraine legally and their return to the relevant country of origin safely and permanently is not possible.
- Temporary protection can also be granted to the family members of Ukrainian citizens and of those granted international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, if the family ties were established in Ukraine before the Russian attack.
- Antti Lehtinen, Director of Asylum Unit, tel. 0295 433 037, email: email@example.com
- Olli Snellman, Head of Section, Reception Unit, tel. 0295 433 037, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Statistics on temporary protection