Ukrainians and Russians staying in reception centres to be accommodated separately
In future, Ukrainian and Russian applicants staying in Finland’s reception centres will be accommodated separately.
So far, the reception centres have accommodated both Russians and Ukrainians, and daily life at the centres has been calm. The situation has started to change following the military mobilisation in Russia, with Ukrainians relating fears caused by Russian asylum seekers being housed in the same spaces.
In future, Ukrainians and Russians staying at reception centres will be accommodated separately.
“Our priority is ensuring that our customers feel safe in Finland,” said Director General Ilkka Haahtela.
The policy is already being applied in the case of new Russian asylum applicants. Those who have stayed in the country longer will be separated by the end of October. The Finnish Immigration Service has instructed reception centres to take the sensitive nature of the situation and customers’ sense of security into account in all operations.
Arrangements made with diversity of customers’ circumstances in mind
Transfers of those who have stayed in the country longer to different reception centres will take place by the end of October. As the reception system is currently accommodating a record number of people, the scale of the necessary arrangements is considerable.
Transfers also need to take into account the diverse circumstances of those in the reception system.
“Our reception centre customers include families with members of both nationalities, for example. Naturally, people seeking international protection will not be separated from their families,” said Haahtela.
Long-term customers of reception centres may have integrated into the locality of their centre. When planning the transfers, the Finnish Immigration Service also takes into consideration factors such as children's schooling.
The Finnish Immigration Service maintains a constant dialogue with a number of relevant actors, such as the Ukrainian Association in Finland, and works with other authorities to address pertinent security considerations.
Apartment-based accommodation in new reception centres
While Finnish reception centres have traditionally been institutional, new centres are largely apartment-based. Those staying at these centres have their own apartments, and don’t share common spaces.
“Apartment-based reception centres allow for new ways of accommodating customer groups separately,” Haahtela explained.
Almost half of the Ukrainians in the reception system have organised private accommodation for themselves with relatives or volunteers, for example. However, they are all registered at a reception centre or service point, which provides reception services including social and healthcare services.
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of asylum applications made by Russians. Following the military mobilisation in the country, Russians have submitted 263 applications for asylum, compared with a total of 679 in 2022. In recent years, the number of asylum applications received from Russians per year has stood at between 200 and 500. This year, Ukrainians have submitted 40,536 applications for temporary protection.
The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for directing, planning and supervising the operations of the reception system. The Finnish Immigration Service operates reception centres in Helsinki, Lappeenranta (Joutseno) and Oulu. The other centres are maintained by organisations, municipalities, and companies.
Interview requests: Press and Communications Services of the Finnish Immigration Service, tel. +358 295 433 037, email: firstname.lastname@example.org