Flight carrying people evacuated from Afghanistan has arrived in Finland
Finland arranged a flight from Tbilisi to Helsinki on 23 August as part of the evacuations from Afghanistan. A total of 102 persons arrived in Finland on the flight. The youngest arrivals are small children.
“We have been hearing news about the chaotic situation in Kabul over the last few days, and it has certainly been very difficult for the evacuees. To prepare for the situation and the need for assistance, we sent an emergency medical services team from the Helsinki Rescue Department to accompany and assist the evacuees during the flight,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.
“According to my information, the people who have now arrived in Finland are doing quite well given the circumstances, but the recent weeks have understandably been very difficult for them and they will be given the assistance they need by the Finnish authorities,” Minister Ohisalo says.
The flight was part of the Afghan evacuation flights coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Finland is also offering other EU countries the possibility of using Finnish flights for their evacuation needs.
Authorities cooperate to organise reception of people arriving from Afghanistan
Evacuees from Afghanistan will be received in cooperation with different authorities. Those arriving at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport have undergone an entry check by border authorities and been tested for COVID-19, after which they will be transported to reception centres. They were also be met by medical personnel who attended to acute health needs.
The evacuees arriving from Afghanistan will first be accommodated in reception centres in various parts of the country until they have been granted residence permits. Detailed information on the locations of the reception centres will not be published. In this way, the Finnish Immigration Service aims to ensure the privacy of the persons who have come from difficult conditions and guarantee that they can settle in peace in Finland. In addition to accommodation, the centres will provide the evacuees with the health and social services they need.
Once the Finnish Immigration Service has issued residence permits, the persons will move from the reception centres to municipalities. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will agree with the municipalities on the placement of persons in the municipalities.
According to a government decision, a total of 170 Afghans who have worked for the Finnish authorities can be brought from Afghanistan to Finland together with their families. The Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, led the preparation of the government decisions on the admission of Afghan employees to Finland. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the evacuation flights. The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for the reception of persons in Finland and for the processing of residence permits.
By decision of the Government, the 170 persons on the evacuation list will be granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, i.e. they will not be treated as asylum seekers. The initial validity of the residence permit will be four years. The Finnish Immigration Service is prepared to process the residence permits with urgency.
Jari Kähkönen, Director General, Finnish Immigration Service, tel. +358 295 463 210, [email protected] (practical arrangements for receiving Afghans)
Minna Hulkkonen, Director General, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 600, [email protected] (government decision)
Pekka Tiainen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 227, [email protected] (evacuation flights coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism)