The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has announced today the total closure of 4 reception centres for refugees plus the partial closure of another, whose contracts will expire in the first half of 2019. The decision is made after two consecutive years of decreases in the number of asylum claims and in anticipation of a further decline in the future.
According to a press release published by Migri on its website, “the contracts of four reception centres will be terminated” from now to June. Those centres, which had been designed to provide accommodation facilities for families and adults, are the following:
- Helsinki/Metsäläntie, the Helsinki and Uusimaa district of the Finnish Red Cross, with 100 beds, by 30 april 2019.
- Kankaanpää, Medivida Oy, with 90 beds, by 30 June 2019.
- Kokemäki, Pihlajalinna Terveys Oy, with 90 beds, by 31 March 2019.
- Raseborg, Medivida Oy, with 150 beds, by 31 March 2019.
To this list must be added also the closure of the Kaarlenkatu unit of the Helsinki reception centre: “The fixed-term contract of the Kaarlenkatu Unit of the Helsinki Reception Centre will expire”, explained the institution on its latest release. The contract for this unit, which has a capacity of 200 beds, will end by 31 May 2019.
In total, the accommodation capacity will be reduced by 630 beds by the end of June 2019. Those in charge of the reception centres will carry out employee cooperation negotiations with the staff at the centres.
Migri justifies these adjustments by “the estimated reduced need for accommodation in the beginning of the year”. In fact, the decision comes at a time of relative relief in the migratory pressure and after two consecutive years of declines in asylum claims.
According to the latest report published by the Regional Representation for Northern Europe of The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Finland received in the first semester of 2018 1,470 new asylum seekers. The number of arrivals of asylum-seekers has been declining since 2015, when registered its peak (32,150) during the European refugee crisis. In 2016 there were 5,275 new arrivals and in 2017 the total number of asylum-seekers arrivals was 4,325.
“Maintaining unnecessary accommodation capacity is expensive, which is why the goal of the agency is to keep the number of beds as close to the real demand as possible at all times”. The goal of the Finnish Immigration Service is “to maintain a 90 per cent occupancy rate at its reception centres”, as explained in the press release.
At present, there are approximately 7,800 beds at the reception centres.