According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are currently almost 80 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee persecution and conflict. According to UNHCR, a significant proportion of the world's refugees, more than 45 million, are internally displaced persons. Many of the world's refugees fleeing conflict are accepted by their neighbouring countries. Only a fraction of refugees arrive in Europe and Finland.
The reception of refugees is based on international agreements, such as the 1951 UN Geneva Convention on Refugees. Finland is also committed to complying with the Convention.
Finland receives highly vulnerable people as part of the refugee quota
Finland co-operates with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and hosts resettled refugees, i.e. quota refugees. Parliament decides on the size of the refugee quota when the Budget is adopted. The allocation of the quota to the different nationalities and countries of origin is made by a Finnish government decision on the basis of a proposal from UNHCR. Finland's refugee quota for 2021 is 1,050 persons.
In 2021, in line with the allocation decision confirmed by the Ministry of the Interior, Finland will host:
- 550 Syrian resettled refugees from Lebanon or Turkey
- 250 Congolese resettled refugees from Zambia
- 130 resettled refugees evacuated from Libya to Niger or Rwanda under the evacuation programme
- 120 emergencies or refugees without territorial or nationality restrictions.
These quota refugees are arriving directly in their allocated municipalities in Finland.
Finland also hosts asylum seekers
An asylum seeker is a person seeking protection and the right of residence in a foreign country. An asylum seeker does not yet have a Finnish residence permit. During the asylum procedure, asylum seekers live in reception centres or private accommodation. Asylum seekers who have entered the country as unaccompanied minors, meaning they are under 18 years and have come over without a parent or carer, are placed in group homes while their application is processed.
An asylum seeker will be granted refugee status if they are granted asylum or subsidiary protection. An asylum seeker can also obtain a residence permit in Finland on other grounds. Once the asylum seeker has received a residence permit, they can move to a municipality. The asylum seeker may have a designated placement, or they may find a municipality of residence independently or with the help of the reception centre.
In 2020, a total of 1,277 new asylum applications and 1,932 repeat applications were submitted in Finland.
UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Asylum seekers and refugees on the website of the Ministry of the Interior
Quota refugees on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service
Applying for asylum in Finland on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service