The costs of receiving asylum seekers continued to decrease in the year under review. The costs of reception amounted to about 189 million euros in 2018, this is almost 33% less compared to 282 million euros in 2017, according to the numbers published by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
The average cost of one day of accommodation went down roughly to its level previous to 2015, being 48 euros per person in the year under review as compared to 55 euros in the previous year. The average cost includes all reception centre expenses, such as the centre's rent and property maintenance, employees’ salaries, services and the reception allowance paid to residents.
Some reception centres have been closed, because the number of asylum seekers arriving in Finland has decreased. The number of asylum applications received in the year under review was 4,548, down about 10% on the previous year. About half of these were re-applications. The number of applicants in the reception system decreased from 13,100 to about 10,680 in the course of the year under review.
Nevertheless, the asylum seeker situation that emerged in 2015 continues to have an impact on the agency’s operations. The process has dragged on for some applicants, because some of those whose applications have been rejected have appealed to administrative courts, and many of those who have already received an asylum decision have filed re-applications. Processing these asylum applications proved to be more challenging than before due to the new grounds cited in the re-applications.
Growth seen in nearly all types of application
According to the financial statements of the Finnish Immigration Service, its costs after revenues for the financial year 2018 amounted to just under 215 million euros. The costs decreased by 22% on the previous year. The reason for this decrease was a clear decrease in the number of asylum seekers, which had a direct impact on the costs of reception.
The Finnish Immigration Service received slightly more revenue from application processing fees than in the previous year, about 19.8 million euros (2017: 19.0 million euros). However, the processing fees do not fully cover the costs of the decision-making process, for instance, because minors and students are charged a discounted processing fee.
The year 2018 was again one of growth for the Finnish Immigration Service. The number of immigration permit applications filed continued to grow: the increase in residence permit applications and registrations of EU citizens’ right of residence was nearly 13%. (2018: 96,473, 2017: 85,538).
"Processing this growing number of applications requires that sufficient resources will be secured for the agency for the coming years, so that customers will not have to wait unduly long for decisions," says Kari Kananen, Director of Finance.
More applications based on work or studies
More and more immigrants applied for a residence permit last year based on work or studies. By contrast, there was a slight decrease in the number of first residence permit applications on the basis of family ties. There was a slight increase in the number of applications filed by Finnish citizens and by family members resident in Finland for other reasons such as employment, but the number of applications by family members who had received international protection decreased by more than a third.
The number of citizenship applications increased by about 1,200 on the previous year, or about 9%. (2018: (14,196, 2017: 13,016).
In the course of the year under review, the waiting times for appointments at service points were dramatically reduced, and it is now possible to book an appointment within one month, Migri remarks.