The European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) will grant 12 million euros in EU financial support for the reception of asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region, the Ministry of the Interior informed Tuesday.
The EU support will cover the costs to be incurred in relocating 175 unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable asylum seekers to Finland from the Mediterranean Member States at the EU’s external borders, mainly from Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
Sanna Marin's government decided on 27 February to accept these asylum seekers and the first relocation was originally scheduled for June, but the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) informed on 22 June that it "had to bee postponed" until early July due to unspecified practical reasons.
The first group of them - 25 minors, mostly afghans coming from Greece - are expected to arrive next week. At first, they will be quarantined for two-weeks Espoo to prevent coronavirus spread, according to Yle.
"The aim is to ensure smooth transfer of asylum seekers to Finland by preparing for the resource needs of the reception system and the asylum procedure," the department headed by Maria Ohisalo explained in a press release.
According to the government, the EU support will cover reception costs related to accommodation, immediate living costs and services. "As far as the asylum procedure is concerned, costs related to asylum decision-making and interpretation will be covered in particular," the Ministry emphasized.
Applications 'down to a trickle'
The decision to host these 175 asylum seekers "aims to alleviate the overburdened reception systems in these countries," the Finnish government explained. The reception system costs arising from the new relocations will be covered through the AMIF.
Migri also informed a week ago that they will close 7 reception centers and capacity will be reduced in other 3 facilities due to a sharp decline in new arrivals.
"This year, the number of asylum seekers arriving in Finland is about half compared to last year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, new asylum applications to Finland are down to a trickle," Migri then said in a press release.