Government proposes to amend the Integration Act and the Reception Act to ensure services for those fleeing Ukraine
There are more than 38,000 people in Finland who have sought temporary protection having fled Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. The Government has proposed amendments to the Integration Act and the Reception Act in order to ensure services for beneficiaries of temporary protection who have fled Ukraine. The amendments would make it possible to pay compensation to municipalities and wellbeing services counties for organising services, for example.
The Government submitted its proposal to amend the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (Integration Act) and the Act on the Reception of Persons Applying for International Protection and on Identifying and Assisting Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings (Reception Act) to Parliament on 15 September 2022.
Currently, beneficiaries of temporary protection usually access reception services. As a rule, it has not been possible to grant them a municipality of residence. From spring 2023 onwards, beneficiaries of temporary protection may, however, have a right to a municipality of residence if they have lived in Finland continuously for at least a year and their residence permits have been extended.
Compensation paid to municipalities and wellbeing services counties for service provision
When a beneficiary of temporary protection is assigned to a municipality of residence, the municipality, the wellbeing services county and other authorities have a greater responsibility for providing their services. The Government therefore proposes that the State could compensate municipalities and wellbeing services counties for the provision of services if the beneficiaries of temporary protection have a municipality of residence. The costs would be reimbursed on the same grounds as for the services provided to other groups, such as beneficiaries of international protection. The current Integration Act does not allow the payment of compensation.
According to the Government’s proposal, the legal provisions on assigning persons to municipalities would be extended to apply to beneficiaries of temporary protection. The proposal clarifies the authorities’ responsibilities related to assigning people to municipalities and amends the Integration Act to correspond to the current practice. A minor who has arrived in Finland without a parent or guardian would receive services in a similar manner as a quota refugee who has arrived as an unaccompanied minor or who is a beneficiary of international protection.
The proposal is related to the budget proposal for 2023 and is intended to be considered with it. The acts are scheduled to enter into force on 1 March 2023.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s press release on the Government proposal
Government proposal TEM/2022/120 (in Finnish)