Finland is getting ready to receive 100 asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. According to the Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI, the incomers will mostly be children without a guardian and single-parent families.

A small refugee at a camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. Picture: Steve Evans/Flickr

Most of the children without guardians will be received from the refugee camps in Greece. Relocations may also occur from Cyprus, Malta and Italy.

“The Finnish Immigration Service is well prepared to take in the asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. In previous years, we have worked together with Greek and Italian authorities to arrange internal relocations,” says internal relocation coordinator Monna Airiainen, from the Finnish Immigration Service in a press release.

Relocations

All in all, new places will be established for approximately one hundred asylum seekers who are minors. The accommodation capacity will be increased in the following reception centers:

Espoo group home and supported housing unit, City of Espoo, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 24)

Hämeenkyrö, municipality of Hämeenkyrö and the Finnish Red Cross, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 30)

Kotka, City of Kotka, expansion: 15 places (total number of places: 36)

Oravainen, municipality of Vöyri, expansion: 10 places (total number of places: 38)

Oulu group home and supported housing unit, expansion: 14 places (total number of places: 14)

Turku group home and supported housing unit, expansion: 14 places (total number of places: 21)

The total accommodation capacity for minors will double. Currently, there are five housing units for minors with a total of 90 places. In addition, a new group home will be established.

More asylum seekers may arrive later; in February, the Finnish government decided that Finland would receive a total of 175 asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region.

Group homes

Unaccompanied asylum seekers who are minors coming to Finland usually live in group homes intended for minors or in supported housing units. In the units, children and adolescents will have access to support services and any other treatment services they need.

The aim is to carry out the first relocations from the Mediterranean countries most likely in May-June. Not all people will arrive in Finland at the same time. It is estimated that it will take a few months to arrange the relocations.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus situation will be taken into account in arranging the relocations. Before the relocation and after arrival in Finland, everyone will be given a health examination that includes coronavirus testing. During the epidemic, special attention will be paid to the symptoms of coronavirus in the examinations.

Before they are moved to the center, minors will also be quarantined for 14 days. The quarantine will be implemented in conditions similar to an ordinary group home

The asylum process begins when an asylum seeker has arrived in Finland. The asylum applications will be processed in the same way as those of all other asylum seekers. The only difference is that the Dublin procedure will not be applied, meaning that Finland will be the state responsible for processing the applications.

The need for international protection will be assessed as part of the individual process, which includes an asylum interview. If an asylum seeker is a minor, she or he will be appointed an accompanying representative in the asylum interview.