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Temporary protection granted to about 13,000 people – the decision process is now faster

Publication date 28.4.2022 14.33 | Published in English on 5.5.2022 at 14.06

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 20,380 applications for temporary protection have been submitted in Finland. By 27 April, 13,134 decisions had been made regarding the applications. Partial automation has helped expedite the decision-making process.

Finland grants temporary protection for those who have fled Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion. This is the first time temporary protection is used in Finland and in the entire EU. 

At the moment, the Finnish Immigration Service makes about one thousand decisions per day regarding applications for temporary protection. At the moment, processing the application is quick as long as the application contains all the necessary information. 

“This week, we will be able to make decisions regarding all the applications for temporary protection that do not include incomplete information, such as a missing photograph,” says Antti Lehtinen, Director of the Asylum Unit.

Nearly all the applicants are granted temporary protection (12,999). A small share of applications have fallen through (135) due to the applicant withdrawing their application. 

The daily numbers of applications for temporary protection have decreased to a level lower than at the start of the war. At the moment, the police and the border authorities register about 100–300 applications for temporary protection each day.  In mid-March, the authorities received more than 1,200 applications per day. Most of the applications for temporary protection have been submitted by Ukrainian nationals (20,116).

So far, only a small share of those who have fled Ukraine have sought protection in Finland. In Europe, more than 2.3 million applications for temporary protection have been submitted by people who have fled Ukraine. 

Automation used for the first time in protection-related decision-making processes

Partial automation has become a new, key means of expediting the processing of applications for temporary protection. 

The Finnish Immigration Service does not use automation in processing asylum applications as the decision-making process always requires an individual investigation. However, temporary protection is granted to a limited target group and is not subject to individual consideration regarding the need for protection, unlike the process designed for asylum seekers.

“This is the first time we’ve used automation in matters of protection. We’ve been able to use the expertise and functions gained from the other residence permit types in the automatisation, and this translates to considerably faster processing times,” says Lehtinen.

The Finnish Immigration Service has previously used partial automation in the processing of other residence permit applications, such as work-based residence permits and citizenship applications.

The reason for the Finnish Immigration Service’s use of partial automation in its decision-making processes is the fact that current legislation does not enable fully automated decision-making. Partial automation checks that the criteria for the permit is fulfilled and automatically generates a decision proposal to be reviewed and confirmed by a processor. 

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 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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