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Refugees need support especially during the early stages of arrival

Internationally protected persons can arrive in the municipality as quota refugees or through the asylum procedure from reception centres, as agreed with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the municipality. An asylum seeker who has been granted a residence permit can also move from the reception centre to a municipality independently. 

People arriving in municipalities from reception centres through the asylum procedure already have some experience of living in Finland, but they often need advice and guidance.

Quota refugees always arrive in a municipality subject to an agreement. The municipality must arrange housing for quota refugees and those who have received a residence permit through the asylum procedure and have been assigned a municipal placement. It may take months for a group of quota refugees to arrive, usually due to formalities related to leaving their country of origin. It is therefore advisable to keep the arrangements as flexible as possible.

Early-stage services include health checks, initial assessment and the drawing up of an integration plan

Once the refugees have arrived in the municipality, they will have initial health checks, which is organised by wellbeing services county. An initial assessment is carried out with adult quota refugees and those who have arrived from reception centres, either by the municipality or by the public employment and business services, the TE Office. A municipality or TE Office may draw up an initial assessment together with the wellbeing services county if the person's need for services requires the coordination of services.

Since most people who have been granted international protection do not have Finnish or Swedish language skills and rarely have immediate access to employment, a personal integration plan is drawn up for them after the initial assessment. wellbeing services counties can also participate in drawing up the integration plan. 

In the early stages, internationally protected people usually need an interpreter who enables them to deal with municipal authorities. If the new residents are quota refugees, the language they use is usually known and interpretation can be arranged in advance. For those who move independently from reception centres, it will likely take time to determine which language should be used in communications and when interpreters are available.

State reimburses municipalities and wellbeing services counties for the hosting of refugees

The State reimburses the costs of interpretation and translation services related to the hosting of refugees, and for the costs arising from matters such as the initial assessments and the social assistance for persons entitled to it. 

From new arrivals to permanent residents 

In addition to high-quality services, the integration of new residents requires open and receptive approaches and attitudes. It is important to support encounters between local residents and to carry out work that promotes equality and openness in the municipality.

Permanent settling of beneficiaries of international protection in the municipality is supported by:

  • high-quality integration services
  • opportunities for studying and employment
  • genuine experience of belonging to the local community.

Municipalities should also introduce permanent settling models that have been proven to work in other municipalities. Many municipalities co-operate in organising the hosting of refugees and share their good practices. 

More information:
State compensation to municipalities and wellbeing servives counties (in Finnish and Swedish)
Services promoting integration