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Packed Refugee Reception Centres Hope for More Funds

Refugee reception centres in Finland are packed to the limit. Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors is proposing more funds for officials working with asylum seekers.

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Image: YLE

Last year 4,000 asylum seekers arrived in this country. Many of them are still waiting for their first appointment with immigration officials.

For example, the Helsinki Refugee Centre is overflowing with tenants. Asylum seekers are supposed to move from this centre to another within a month. In reality, they stay much longer.

”There is simply no available space at any of Finland’s refugee centres. We’re dependent on emergency shelters, attics and classroom floors. As soon as a bed is freed up, it’s filled by a refugee in Helsinki,” said Leena Markkanen, the director of the Helsinki Refugee Centre.

Jumale Raaho Mohamed from Somalia has been living at the centre since August.

“I’m very happy to stay here. But if I ask myself, I’ve been here a very long time,” she said.

Thors: More Funding Needed

Asylum seekers are not allowed to move out of reception centres until they receive a residence permit. However many municipalities have refused to house new asylum seekers due to a lack of funding. State reimbursements to municipalities which house asylum seekers have not risen since 1993.

Now Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors is proposing to increase funding to assist municipalities as well as hire more immigration officials.

Government is to review the proposal by the end of January. The need for additional funding is acute; this month 500 more asylum seekers arrive in Finland.

Sources: YLE

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