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Temporary protection in Finland granted to over 20,000 people fleeing Ukraine – decisions now issued quickly

Publication date 20.5.2022 8.14

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 23,781 applications for temporary protection have been submitted in Finland. 20,622 decisions have been made based on the applications by 18 May.

Finland grants temporary protection to those who have fled Ukraine as a result of the Russian attack. Applications are submitted to the police or the Border Guard. The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for the related decision-making.

– Now, the decision-making process runs very quickly when the application contains all the necessary information for the decision and a photograph for the residence permit card. It could previously take weeks, while now we are talking about days, says Director of Asylum Unit Antti Lehtinen.

Almost all decisions (20,427) are positive. A small number of applications have expired (195) after the applicant withdrew their application. 

The number of applications for temporary protection received daily is lower than in the early stages of the war. The police and border authorities currently register approximately 100–300 applications for temporary protection per day. In mid-March, more than 1,200 applications were submitted per day. Most of the applications for temporary protection have been submitted by Ukrainian citizens (23,482).

Automation speeds up the processing of applications for temporary protection

The introduction of partial automation has been a key means of speeding up the processing of applications for temporary protection. 

The Finnish Immigration Service does not use automation in the processing of asylum applications, as decision-making always requires reviewing each case individually. Temporary protection is granted to a limited group and is not subject to individual consideration of the need for protection, as in the case of an asylum seeker.

– Thanks to the successful introduction of the partial automation system, the number of decisions on temporary protection per day has multiplied. This has been reflected in a significant reduction in processing times for those fleeing the war, says Lehtinen.

For a long time now, the Finnish Immigration Service has used partial automation in the processing of other residence permit applications and citizenship applications. We use partial automation to make decisions, as the legislation does not currently permit fully automated decision-making processes. The partial automation system verifies that the criteria for granting a residence permit are met and automatically produces a proposal for a decision, which a human processor checks and confirms. 

Facts: Temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine

  • In Finland, applications for temporary protection are submitted to the police or border authorities. After this, the Finnish Immigration Service will issue a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection.
  • The recipient may start work as soon as the application for temporary protection has been registered by the police or border authority.
  • Temporary protection can be granted to Ukrainian citizens who cannot return to Ukraine because of the Russian invasion.
  • Protection may also be granted to those non-EU and non-Schengen citizens and stateless persons who have fled due to the Russian invasion, have been legally resident in Ukraine and are unable to return to their country of origin safely and permanently.
  • Protection may also be granted to the family members of Ukrainians and those who have received international or national protection in Ukraine if the family ties have been established in Ukraine before the Russian invasion.
  • Persons fleeing from Ukraine are given Finnish personal identity codes when they are granted temporary protection.

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