Reception allowance depends on asylum seeker’s assets
Asylum seekers may receive financial support from the reception centre for which they have been registered as clients. This allowance covers basic necessities; the Finnish legislation on the reception of asylum seekers prescribes whether the allowance is granted and at what amount.
The allowance is not granted automatically to all applicants. Applicants who have assets of their own or who find work and start earning will receive a lower allowance or no allowance at all. The Police or the Finnish Border Guard will check applicants’ assets before registering them as asylum seekers. Assets will not be confiscated, but information about them will be entered in the authorities’ records, with the decision on the reception allowance being made on the basis of this information.
An estimated 15 per cent of applicants have some kind of available assets when they arrive. These assets are divided into a monthly income, which the applicants must live on for as long as the assets last. Applicants who use up their assets at a faster rate do not receive a reception allowance in compensation. Basic needs, such as accommodation, food and health care, are nevertheless provided.
A separate fee may also be charged for reception services. This has been done, for example, when residents have found work and started earning enough to warrant a fee.
Allowance may have to be paid back
Asylum seekers must apply for reception allowance at regular intervals, which enables a check on whether it is really needed. Any reception allowance may also be demanded back if it turns out that an applicant has received it without being entitled to it. Any allowance will be claimed back through an administrative court by the reception centre that granted the allowance.
The Finnish Immigration Service has provided reception centres with information on reception allowance by means of a basic training package and through staff training. Many new reception centres have sprung up recently; naturally, it will take a while for everyone to become familiar with the various guidelines and operating practices.
- Reception allowance amounts in 2016
- Section 4 of Decree 975/2011, Fee for reception services (in Finnish only)
- Act on the reception of persons applying for international protection and on the identification of and the aid to victims of trafficking in human beings (746/2011; in Finnish only)
- Reception services
Olli Snellman, Head of Section, Reception Unit, tel. +358 295 430 431, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org