Press release
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
7.3.2014 11.30

Report: Health services for undocumented persons must be specified

Finland is not currently providing proper healthcare for undocumented persons. This situation has been investigated in a report commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and prepared by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

The report indicates that there are approximately 1,000 to 1,500 people in Finland who are not documented within the healthcare services. This figure is smaller than previously thought. Undocumented persons in Finland have come from countries outside the EU, EEA, and Switzerland and reside in Finland without permission. In addition, a proportion of this group of undocumented people is made up of EU citizens who do not have health insurance in their own countries. With regards to age, undocumented persons are generally 50 years old or younger.

Current Finnish legislation ensures everyone has access to emergency healthcare. The report proposes three options to ensure the organisation of healthcare for undocumented persons.

According to the report, the model best suited to the Finnish binding agreements on human rights and constitutional requirements would be that whereby undocumented persons resident in Finland are afforded the same rights to public health services as those whose home municipality is in Finland. This is the practice in France and the Netherlands.

The second model, which is used in Sweden, would offer undocumented foreign adults the same healthcare services as asylum seekers; in other words, emergency healthcare and other necessary treatment. In this model, undocumented children would be afforded the same healthcare as other children resident in Finland.

In the third model, undocumented adults would be afforded the same emergency healthcare provision as is currently offered and the monitoring and treatment associated with pregnancy and childbirth. In this model, undocumented children would be afforded the same healthcare as other children resident in Finland.

Depending on which option is selected, the cost of healthcare provision for one thousand undocumented persons would be in the region of 690,000 to 1,200,000 euros per year. In comparison to the current situation, the additional annual costs for one thousand undocumented persons would be approximately 300,000 to 800,000 euros.

The report also indicates that further work is required to establish, among other things, the means for recognising undocumented persons in the healthcare system, how medication expenses for outpatients will be reimbursed, and how, from the perspective of public health, to ensure the prevention of communicable diseases via provision of vaccines.

The report on healthcare provision for undocumented persons was submitted to the Minister of Health and Social Services Susanna Huovinen on Friday 7 March.

Further information

Ilmo Keskimäki, Research Professor, THL, tel. +358 29 524 725
Eeva Nykänen, Senior Researcher, THL, tel. +358 29 524 7901
Taneli Puumalainen, Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3145
Jukka Mattila, Ministerial Counsellor, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3386
Viveca Arrhenius, Ministerial Counsellor, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3286


Related topics

Undocumented persons


Related links

Report on healthcare provision for undocumented persons in Finland (THL) (In Finnish)