Persons displaced from Ukraine begin registering municipalities of residence – greater role for municipalities and wellbeing services counties in providing services
Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen, Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero, Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen and Minister of Education Li Andersson stress the importance of smooth daily life for people who have fled Ukraine. Those who have secured a municipality of residence will have the same rights, services and duties as permanent residents in Finland.
Thousands of people who have fled Ukraine will become eligible for a municipality of residence in March after residing in Finland for one year. Temporary protection was granted to more than 45,000 people who fled Ukraine last year.
The wellbeing and livelihood of these displaced persons has been ensured to date through reception services. On securing a municipality of residence, they will fall within the scope of services provided by municipalities and wellbeing services counties, and will be subject to compulsory education. Applying for a municipality of residence is voluntary, and the decision to do so may be made according to personal circumstances.
“The longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will remain in the country that they fled to. This further highlights the importance of smooth daily life. Municipalities and wellbeing services counties will bear considerable responsibility in future. New individuals displaced by the war in Ukraine also continue to arrive in Finland, amounting to an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 people this year. The number of arrivals depends above all on the events of the war. I hope that the willingness of people in Finland to help Ukrainians will continue,” says Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen.
Securing a municipality of residence will not affect citizenship, the right to reside in Finland, or rights in Ukraine. The residence permits issued to Ukrainians for temporary protection will automatically remain in force until 4 March 2024, meaning for as long as the temporary protection regime continues in the European Union.
Growing role for municipalities and wellbeing services counties in arranging services
A municipality of residence is granted on application by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. As of 1 March 2023 the Agency is providing an online application form for people who have fled Ukraine. Eligibility begins when a person has lived in Finland for one year, has a Finnish personal identity number, and holds a residence permit for temporary protection that was applied for at least one year ago.
“Finnish municipalities have played a key role in assisting Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war. The war has continued, and the Ukrainians need our help as the cities of their homeland are subjected to great strain. It is now important for Ukrainians to be fully informed about the process of applying for a municipality of residence in Finland, and about the services that they will be entitled to on securing a municipality of residence,” Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero explains.
Wellbeing services counties are responsible for health and social services, while municipalities remain responsible for arranging many other key services, such as early childhood education, preschool and basic education, immigrant integration services and housing.
Early childhood education, basic education and studying have a significant impact in building a secure daily life
Many children and young adults have come to Finland from Ukraine. They have been effectively brought within the scope of early childhood education and training. On receiving a municipality of residence, a child has a directly enforceable right to early childhood education, a child of preschool age has a duty to participate in preschool education, and children and young adults of compulsory school age have a duty to participate in compulsory education.
Education for school-age children is arranged in the form of pre-primary or basic education, or in such forms as preparatory instruction for basic education intended for immigrants. Pupils are entitled to guidance counselling and adequate support for learning and school attendance as soon as the need for support arises.
A person subject to the duty to participate in compulsory education is required to apply for post-secondary education. Organisers of basic, upper secondary, vocational, and other compulsory education, and the municipality of residence in the final instance, have a duty to guide and supervise the completion of compulsory education.
“Participating in early childhood education or schooling brings a secure routine into the lives of children and young adults, providing an opportunity to meet reliable adults and get to know friends of the same age. This also ensures that every child and young adult who fled Ukraine has the right to learn in spite of the shocking situation in their homeland. Every child who loses access to education increases the price of war,” says Minister of Education Li Andersson.
Employment and jobseeking of Ukrainians supported in many ways
A Ukrainian arriving in Finland secures the right to work immediately after applying for temporary protection. The National Incomes Register indicates that about 5,400 people who fled to Finland from Ukraine are now working. People who have secured temporary protection have been eligible to register as unemployed jobseekers even before securing a municipality of residence. Nearly 7,700 people who fled to Finland from Ukraine were enrolled in labour administration services as of the end of February. Jobseekers registered at an Employment and Economic Development Office will become clients of municipal employment trials as of 1 March 2023 in the same way as other speakers of foreign languages.
“Work plays a key role in building a secure daily life and finding a place in society. There is also considerable demand for labour in Finland, and businesses have been very interested in hiring Ukrainians. We shall continue to promote their employment and jobseeking in a wide range of ways, including employment services, immigrant integration and language training, recruitment events, and guidance and counselling services,” explains Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
Mikko Jalo, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 50 304 8522, [email protected]
Piritta Jokelainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7353, [email protected]
Sofia Nevalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Local Government, tel. +358 29 553 0530, [email protected]
Anna Lemström, Special Adviser to the Minister of Education, tel. +358 50 472 6356, anna.k.lemstrom(at)gov.fi