Finland prepares to take in 15,000 asylum seekers in 2015

Ministry of the Interior 20.8.2015 13.43
Press release

The number of asylum seekers has increased dramatically this year. The most recent estimates from the Finnish Immigration Service suggest that the number of those applying for asylum in Finland this year might go up to as many as 15,000. This new estimate, which is 10,000 higher than previous estimates, is based on the number of applications received this summer. However, the final figure may also be considerably lower. The high figures are mainly due to a number of crises in Africa and the Middle East. The volume of asylum seekers is now growing throughout Europe, and is also a global issue.

To address the situation, the Finnish Immigration Service will immediately recruit 70 and the Finnish Police 50 new employees to process asylum applications to maintain reasonable processing times. With these additional personnel, the police and immigration authorities would be able to process and decide close to 10,000 applications a year.

The issue affects the whole society and requires actions by many ministries. The rapid processing of asylum applications is vital both from a humane and an economic point of view. Asylum seekers wait for asylum decisions at reception centres, and the longer the waiting time the higher the reception costs.

The Finnish Police and Immigration Service have also enhanced the screening of applications at the initial stage of the asylum procedure. To avoid attracting unfounded applications because of the long processing times, the Immigration Service aims to make swift negative decisions on manifestly unfounded applications, and the police focus on the effective return of those whose application is refused.

Furthermore, the Immigration Service has worked together with local authorities and the Finnish Red Cross to increase the number of reception facilities. The existing reception centres will be extended, and new ones set up as early as this month. Properties across the country are now being assessed for their suitability for use as reception centres.

The legislative projects entered in the Government Programme to further specify family reunification criteria and to speed up the removal process for serious offenders will be launched immediately.

Finland takes an active part in the EU's efforts to manage migration flows, for example by ensuring effective border control and an effective asylum procedure, including the return procedure, and by working in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit.

Päivi Nerg, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 295 418 803,
Jorma Vuorio, Director General, tel. +358 295 418 860,
Mikko Kortelainen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 301 8334 (requests for interviews with the Minister of the Interior Petteri Orpo)