More than 50,000 people who have fled the war in Ukraine have applied for temporary protection in Finland, according to a recent press release. The Finnish Immigration Service received 49,405 applications from Ukrainian citizens and 956 from citizens of other countries, with a total of 46,194 decisions made on the first applications by February 15, 2023.
Of those applying for and receiving temporary protection, a considerable share (62%) are children and their mothers.
Some children have also arrived in Finland without a guardian, usually accompanied by relatives or family friends. Overall, approximately one in three arrivals are children.
In January 2023, the Finnish Immigration Service announced an extension of residence permits granted on the basis of temporary protection until March 4, 2024. This means that those who have fled Ukraine do not need to do anything to get their permit extended, as the permits will be automatically renewed. Automation helped to achieve 42,433 decisions in five days at the start of the year.
Those receiving temporary protection will also be able to apply for a municipality of residence this year after staying in Finland for one year. The first of them will be able to apply as soon as March 1, 2023. With a municipality of residence, those granted temporary protection will be entitled to more extensive services than in the reception centre.
According to an estimate by the Finnish Immigration Service, about 30,000 to 40,000 applicants of temporary protection will arrive in Finland in 2023. The reception system will be adjusted according to the need, and the capacity of the reception centres will be increased or decreased accordingly.
In Finland, applicants must contact the police or border authorities to apply for temporary protection. The Finnish Immigration Service will then make a decision on temporary protection. Protection can be granted to Ukrainian nationals unable to return to Ukraine due to Russia's invasion. It can also be granted to nationals of countries outside the European Union and not party to the Schengen Agreement and stateless persons who have legally resided in Ukraine and fled the country due to Russia's invasion. Family members of Ukrainian nationals and those granted international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine may also be granted protection if the family ties were established in Ukraine before Russia's invasion.
In conclusion, the influx of refugees from Ukraine continues to impact Finland, and the Finnish Immigration Service is prepared to adjust the reception system's capacity accordingly. The extension of residence permits and the option to apply for a municipality of residence will provide some stability and opportunities for those who have fled the war. As the conflict continues, it remains to be seen how many more refugees will seek temporary protection in Finland and how the country will respond to the ongoing crisis.
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