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Asylum in Finland

Comparison between reception services and services of a municipality of residence

If you get a municipality of residence, you will no longer be a client of the reception system. Instead, you will become a resident of the municipality where you live and a client of a wellbeing services county. A wellbeing services county arranges public healthcare, social welfare and rescue services to all residents in the region it serves.

Once you have a municipality of residence registered for you, you have the same rights and obligations as those who are living permanently in Finland, and you will have access to the same level of services as them. You will benefit from having a municipality of residence if you intend to stay in Finland for the time being. If you decide not to apply for a municipality of residence, you are still allowed to stay in Finland and continue to receive reception services.

You can apply for a municipality of residence online based on one-year residence. You can apply at the earliest on 1 March 2023. Apply on the website of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (dvv.fi).

See how the reception services differ from the services offered by a municipality of residence:

 

When you have a municipality of residence

When you are receiving reception services

Housing and residence

You are free to choose the municipality where you want to live. If you already have your own accommodation in Finland, getting a municipality of residence does not necessarily cause any changes in your housing and residence. In contrast, if you have been living in a reception centre or in accommodation arranged for you by the reception centre, you will now need to arrange and pay for your accommodation yourself. If your income is low, you can apply for housing allowance from Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. For more information, see the website Housing allowance (kela.fi).

Your reception centre will help you until you are able to move. The reception centre can, for instance, give you guidance on finding an apartment to rent.

You can live in a reception centre or in an apartment arranged for you by the reception centre. If you live somewhere else, you will need to pay for your accommodation yourself.

Income

You are allowed to work and there are no restrictions on your right to work. You can apply for benefits, such as child benefit and housing allowance, from Kela. You can also apply for basic social assistance from Kela if you need financial support and are unable to make a living in any other way. For more information, see the website Social Assistance (kela.fi). You are allowed to work and there are no restrictions on your right to work. If you or your family members do not have enough income and funds to cover your immediate basic needs, such as food and clothing, you can get reception allowance. For more information about reception allowance and the amounts paid, see the page Reception allowance.

Healthcare

You are entitled to the same level of healthcare as any other residents of your municipality. The wellbeing services county is responsible for providing you with healthcare services. You are entitled to the same level of healthcare as any other residents of the municipality. Your reception centre is responsible for providing you with healthcare services.

Social welfare services

You will have access to a considerably wider range of social welfare services. In case of illness or disability, for example, you can get home-help services to support you with living at home.

You are entitled to essential social services. Your reception centre will assess your service needs and arrange the services for you.

Integration and employment

If you are looking for work or need help with finding employment, you can register as an unemployed jobseeker at the TE Office. The TE Office will assist you with finding work, and that assistance is free of charge. If you have a municipality of residence, you can get access to the services provided by local government pilots on employment. 

You are entitled to employment-promoting social services.  The TE Office and your municipality of residence can draw up an integration plan for you and offer you services that will help you integrate in Finland.

For more information, see the website of the TE Offices (toimistot.te-palvelut.fi).

You can register as an unemployed jobseeker at the TE Office. The TE Offices and the municipalities can draw up an integration plan for you and offer you employment-promoting services and services that will help you integrate in Finland.  

Childcare and school

When you and your child have a municipality of residence, your child is required to attend a Finnish school. In that case, attending school is compulsory and the school must be part of the Finnish education system.

When you have a municipality of residence, a child who is not yet required to go to school is entitled to a place in early childhood education. This is the case even when one or both of the child’s parents are at home and not working or studying.

Children have the right to attend pre-primary education and basic education. In your situation, school attendance is voluntary, meaning that your child is not required to attend a Finnish school. Your reception centre can help you with enrolling your child in school. The municipality where you live will arrange pre-primary education and basic education for your children.

If you are working or studying, the municipality where you live will arrange your children a place in early childhood education. If you are not working or studying, the municipality may refuse your child a place in early childhood education.