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Migri: First children from Greek refugee camps arriving in Finland soon

All asylum seekers will be tested for coronavirus and quarantined on arrival.

Pakolaislapsia ilman huoltajaa.
Unaccompanied minors at Athens airport, heading to Germany on 18 April. Image: Orestis Panagiotou / EPA

Finland will begin transferring underage asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region in May and June, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said on Monday.

Most of the children will come from refugee camps in Greece, with some also possibly arriving from Cyprus, Malta and Italy.

‘The Finnish Immigration Service is well prepared to take in the asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. In previous years, we have worked together with Greek and Italian authorities to arrange internal relocations,’ says Migri’s internal relocation coordinator, Monna Airiainen.

Migri is expanding its current reception centres for unaccompanied children, and will set up a new group home. Its location has not yet been decided.

The number of beds available for minors will double. At present, there are 90 berths for underage applicants at five housing centres.

More space will be added to reception units in Espoo, Hämeenkyrö, Kotka, Oravainen, Oulu and Turku.

The government decided in February that Finland would accept 175 vulnerable asylum seekers from the Mediterranean region. These will primarily be unaccompanied children and single-parent families.

Before relocation and after arriving in Finland, each youngster will undergo a health examination, including a coronavirus test. On arrival in the country, they will be quarantined for two weeks in group home settings before being moved to long-term residential units.

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