Tuesday 4/13/21
ASYLUM

Migri cuts 700 beds in reception centers due to lack of asylum seekers

The immigration agency only received 96 new asylum applications between January and February.
Migri office sign. Photo: Migri.
Finnish Immigration Service office. Photo: Migri.

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) only received 96 first requests for asylum between January and February this year. This low number of applications, together with that of the year 2020, in which according to the immigration agency only 1,275 new applications were received, has led to a sharp reduction in the capacity of the reception centers.

According to a press release, this year Migri intends to terminate its contracts with the reception centres in Halikko and Imatra, and to reduce the number of beds in seven other facilities. After these reductions, the total accommodation capacity for asylum seekers will decrease by 700 beds throughout Finland.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we aim to reduce capacity at this point instead of closing down several centres. In this way, we will be better prepared to react when the number of asylum seekers possibly grows at some point,” says Senior Adviser Mikko Välisalo.

Migri says the reception centres to be closed are not the only ones in their region.

Regarding the cuts in capacity, the agency explains that the number of beds will be reduced by 50 beds in reception centres that currently have 200 places, so that the capacity will be 150 as of 1 July.

Reception centres to be closed: 

  • Imatra Reception Centre, Finnish Red Cross, 200 beds. The unit will be closed down by 30 September 2021.
  • Halikko Reception Centre, Finnish Red Cross, 150 beds. The unit will be closed down by 30 September 2021.

Reductions in capacity:

  • Helsinki Reception Centre, City of Helsinki. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Kotka Reception Centre, City of Kotka. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Tampere Reception Centre, City of Tampere. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Vaasa Reception Centre, City of Vaasa. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Kristinestad Reception Centre, Finnish Red Cross. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Pori Reception Centre, Finnish Red Cross. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.
  • Rovaniemi Reception Centre, Finnish Red Cross. The capacity will be reduced by 50 beds. The new capacity will be 150 as of 1 July 2021.

Helsinki transit centre

The Helsinki Reception Centre is the only transit centre where beds will be reduced.

A transit centre is a reception centre which is located near an office of the Finnish Immigration Service where asylum interviews are held. These centres are primarily meant for new asylum seekers who have just arrived in Finland. The capacity of this centre will be reduced also because of renovations.

Approximately 5,800 asylum seekers are currently registered in the reception system, and approximately 2,800 of them live in reception centres. The number of available beds is currently around 1,600, of which approximately 600 to 700 are not in use.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the need for beds has decreased by 150 beds per month. Migri aims for a reception centre capacity that corresponds with a yearly occupancy rate of 75%.

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