Finland’s immigration authorities are closing 11 asylum seeker reception centres. Adult and family reception centres in the cities of Hanko, Kouvola, Oulu’s Vallinkorva district and Turku’s village of Laitila will be emptied. In addition, seven centres for underage asylum seekers will be discontinued in the cities of Jyväskylä, Järvenpää, Kristinestad, Savonlinna, Seinäjoki, Sipoo and Äänekoski.
A graphic dated February 6 from the Service shows that Finland had 75 reception units for adults and families and 43 units for minors, with space for about 16,000 inhabitants. In addition, roughly 3,700 asylum seekers live in private accommodation.
The Finnish Immigration Service maintains that the closures are necessary because of the high cost of keeping the facilities in operation. If the amount of applications continues to stay low, the Service says it will close additional locations yet this year. However, if the numbers of migrant arrivals starts to grow again, more accommodation would be made available, the Service says.
Over 22,000 berths were eliminated already in 2016, as the number of migrants arriving in Finland started to fall from its peak in autumn 2015. Redundancy talks for employees of the latest centres to be closed have begun.