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Quota refugees

A quota refugee is a person

  • who has had to leave his or her home country or country of permanent residence; and
  • who cannot stay in the country to which he or she has fled; and
  • whom the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has determined to be a refugee.

In Finland, when the Parliament approves the Budget for each year, it also decides how many quota refugees Finland commits to receiving. During the years 2001–2019, Finland has received 750 quota refugees per year. In 2020, the number was 850, and in 2021 it will be 1,050.

Emergency or urgent cases

In recent years, a part of the refugee quota has been reserved for refugees who the UNHCR has estimated to be in need of urgent resettlement. Finland selects these emergency cases on the basis of UNHCR documents, without interviews. In 2021, Finland is preparing to receive 120 emergency cases.

Unlike in previous years, UNHCR is proposing also unallocated cases without a requirement of urgency, in addition to emergency cases. Therefore, 120 unallocated places will be reserved in the quota for refugees whose nationality or region is not outlined beforehand.  However, the main part (at least 80%) of the cases that UNHCR proposes to Finland must consist of emergency cases.

Arrival in Finland

Quota refugees do not live in reception centres. Instead, they move directly to Finnish municipalities. A quota refugee may only arrive in Finland after a municipality has agreed to take him or her and offer him or her an apartment.

The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) are in charge of directing quota refugees to the municipalities.

Each ELY Centre negotiates with the municipalities in its area and agrees on the number of refugees to be resettled into each municipality. The state pays compensation to the municipalities for receiving quota refugees and organising integration services.

If you have been admitted to Finland under the refugee quota (resettlement program), you can find more information on the website: