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Coordination group to deal with migration situation in Finland following Russia’s attack

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 2.3.2022 10.18
Press release 35/2021

The Ministry of the Interior has appointed a cross-sectoral group to coordinate migration to Finland following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The purpose of the group is to ensure smooth exchange of information between the different parties involved and to maintain a shared situation picture regarding the necessary measures.

The coordination group will work together to ensure that the competent authorities can find the best solutions to any problems that may arise in the practices and legislation concerning migrants' entry to Finland and their reception, stay and work here.

Currently, the topics to be discussed include the availability of seasonal workers and the related permit procedures, any temporary protection possibly granted to Ukrainians, and ensuring smooth application processes in the rapidly changing situation. In addition to the situation of Ukrainian people, the group will also discuss other questions related to migration to Finland arising due to Russia’s attack. 

In addition to the Ministry of the Interior, the group includes representatives from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Immigration Service, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the Finnish Red Cross.

The term of the group will last until further notice, and the group may invite other necessary parties to participate in its work.

Finland is monitoring the situation and preparing to receive Ukrainians 

Finland is monitoring the migration situation in Ukraine very closely. Finland has increased the exchange of information both nationally within the central government and with its international partners. The sharing of up-to-date information on the situation has been intensified within the EU.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 670,000 Ukrainian people have been forced to flee their country. In the first stage, migration is directed to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries and to countries that already have a Ukrainian population: up to 90% of Ukrainians who have crossed the Polish border are staying with their families and friends. There are significant Ukrainian minorities in different parts of Europe. There are approximately 7,200 Ukrainians permanently residing in Finland, and the role of Ukrainian seasonal workers has been important in Finland in recent years. 

The number of asylum applications submitted by Ukrainians in Finland has increased slightly in recent days, but so far there is no indication that Ukrainians would be planning to come particularly to Finland. If necessary, Finland is prepared both for receiving a large number of migrants during a short period of time and for facing a long-term pressure of migration. The authorities are capable of rapidly increasing the reception capacity, directing migrants to registration centres, if necessary, and concentrating their resources on the rapid processing of applications.

Common EU solution is being sought

Although hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already arrived in the EU, the number of asylum applications submitted has not increased in the same proportion. Ukrainians do not need to apply for protection immediately upon arrival in the EU, because they can enter the Schengen area with a biometric passport visa-free and move freely within the EU for three months without registering their stay. On the other hand, it is difficult to obtain precise information on the migration and numbers of Ukrainians in the EU countries for this reason. Some Eastern European countries have started to grant temporary residence permits to Ukrainians.

The need for protection may change when the three-month visa exemption period of the Ukrainians now arriving ends or if the EU countries bordering Ukraine are no longer able to receive all those in need of protection. It is also important to ensure that Ukrainians are in an equal position across the EU. As a common EU solution to the situation, the Commission is proposing that the EU activate the Directive on temporary protection, which is more than 20 years old. This would also be the first time that a possibility for providing temporary protection would be introduced in Finland. Coordination between the authorities is of utmost importance also in this regard.

Inquiries:

Minna Hulkkonen, Director General, chair of the coordination group, tel. +358 295 488 600, [email protected] 
Sanna Sutter, Director of Development and Steering, vice-chair of the coordination group, tel. +358 295 488 200, [email protected]