We have compiled a list of the most common questions and answers regarding the asylum seekers and the situation in the City of Turku. The list will be updated when new information becomes available.

Additional information and feedback:

Turku City feedback service www.turku.fi/palaute

General situation:

Director of Communications Saara Malila,
tel. +358 (0)44 907 5710, saara.malila@turku.fi

Status quo in Turku

The number of arrivals in Finland has decreased during the winter, which is why it has become possible to provide the asylum seekers with facilities that are more suitable for accommodation. However, the situation may change quickly during spring. There are no exact estimates about the numbers of arrivals or the progress of the situation.

The Finland Proper division of the Finnish Red Cross and the City of Turku have agreed that the next step is to prepare Mäntykoti for accommodation.

The Finland Proper division of the Finnish Red Cross considers it a good thing that the City of Turku can allocate facilities suitable for emergency accommodation also in future and that the city is prepared for the possible increase of asylum seekers.

This site does not take a stand on questions regarding the areas of responsibility of the Finnish Immigration Service or the Finnish Red Cross.

Questions and answers

How can I help the asylum seekers?

Volunteer work for the good of the asylum seekers is coordinated by the Finnish Red Cross. Volunteers are needed for many kinds of work. They can help with, for example, the sorting of donated clothes, at Finnish language clubs, leisure activities, or by assisting someone with shopping.

You can register as a Finnish Red Cross volunteer easily online, after which the representatives of the organization will contact you.

The volunteering of associations and groups is coordinated by miska.keskinen@redcross.fi. The asylum seekers are also interested in contributing to the activities of associations and groups.

Where will the asylum seekers be accommodated during the winter and spring 2016?

The Finnish Red Cross will open Mäntykoti as an accommodation facility for the asylum seekers in Turku from the beginning of February. 150 asylum seekers who have come to Finland during autumn and winter will be placed in Mäntykoti by the beginning of March.

For the time being, Mäntykoti will get its residents from Perno school and Paattinen, as well as possibly from the northern hotspot in Tornio. The temporary emergency accommodation centres in Perno and Paattinen will be closed. The emergency accommodation centre in Heinänokka will be closed by the end of April.

The accommodating of asylum seekers will continue in the Pansio reception centre, Turku hostel, the group home in Oriketo, and now also in Mäntykoti.

Why is Mäntykoti being made an accommodation facility for asylum seekers?

The numbers of asylum seekers are so large at the moment that all municipalities and cities have been asked to chart all possible free facilities and to offer them for emergency accommodation.

Mäntykoti is one of the city’s facilities that the City Board decided to rent for emergency accommodation in September 2015. Other facilities are Perno school, Kastu school, Runosmäki school, Niuskala home, and the former Turku hostel.

In addition, the Finland Proper division of the Finnish Red Cross has reception centres in Halikko, Laitila, and Punkalaidun.

Will families be accommodated in Mäntykoti?

The facilities of Mäntykoti enable the accommodation of single women and men as well as couples and families.  The rooms will be filled according to need and situation.

Will the Runosmäki school be used for emergency accommodation?

At this stage the facilities of Mäntykoti will be put into operation. The City of Turku operates on schedule with the requests coming from the Finnish Red Cross.

Are the asylum seekers free to move around Turku?

The movement of the asylum seekers in Turku is not restricted in any way.

Who is responsible for safety around the emergency accommodations?

The City provided the emergency accommodation facilities upon the request of the Finnish Red Cross and is responsible for making sure the facilities are suitable for the purpose of use. The opened reception centres and emergency accommodation facilities as well as their security is the responsibility of the Finnish Red Cross.

The police is responsible for general security and order. If problems arise, call the emergency number 112.

Has the City of Turku increased security services, for example from security companies, because of the recently arrived asylum seekers?

Security services are acquired as outsourced services and they have been intensified at need. In the last resort, the holder of the facilities, in this case the Finnish Red Cross, not the city, is responsible for the possible surveillance and the resulting costs.

What is the difference between the reception centre in Pansio and the emergency accommodation facilities elsewhere in Turku?

The reception centre in Pansio is a unit that operates in permanent facilities, whereas the emergency accommodation units are temporary solutions in temporary facilities. Residents in the emergency accommodations will be transferred as proper and more permanent reception units are established. Emergency accommodations can only be abandoned when the actual reception centres have enough places for all asylum seekers.

Foreigners who have come to Finland and seek asylum from the police or the border authorities live in the reception centres. The reception services in Turku are organized by the Finnish Red Cross while the asylum applications are being processed. Currently there is one official reception centre in Turku. It is located in Pansio and it has places for 225 persons. All the places of the centre have been full for a long time.  

The reception centre in Turku and all the emergency accommodation facilities are managed by the Finnish Red Cross.

For how many people are there places in the emergency accommodation facilities in total?

There are places for 150 people in Perno, 224 people in Runosmäki, approximately 160–200 people in Kastu, and for about 150 people in Mäntykoti.

What will this all cost to Turku?

The state will pay all the expenses of the reception centre. The municipality can apply for compensation for organizing the early phase integration services. Also, the expenses and upkeep of the emergency accommodations are paid by the state.

What services the City of Turku offers to the asylum seekers?

The reception centre (maintained by the Finnish Red Cross in Turku) is responsible for the services offered to the people in the process of asylum seeking. In Turku the Immigrant Services, which operates under the Welfare Division, is responsible for the initial guidance, counselling, open social welfare, and basic health care services of the asylum seekers who have received their residence permits and who have moved from the reception centre to their own apartments either independently or through the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (the ELY Centre).

When an asylum seeker has received their residence permit, the other divisions of the city will offer them the same services as for other municipal residents, as stipulated by the law.

General information about immigration:

Background information

On 1 September 2015 the Finland Proper division of the Finnish Red Cross asked the City of Turku for help with organizing emergency accommodations for asylum seekers arriving at the reception centre in Turku.

After the request from the Finland Proper division of the Finnish Red Cross, the City of Turku Property Management Division has mapped emergency accommodation options. Based on the mapping, Perno school, Kastu school, Runosmäki school, Niuskala nursing home, the former Turku hostel, and Mäntykoti retirement home were selected as possible choices.

The Turku City Board decided on 7 September 2015 that all mapped options are at the disposal of the Finnish Red Cross, and they will be prepared as emergency accommodation facilities. At the first phase the Perno school and the former Turku hostel were put into operation in the beginning of September.

Because the immigrant issues concern several of the city’s divisions, it is appropriate that the responsibility for coordinating the immigrant matters belongs to one place. In Turku the matters are coordinated by the City Development Group of the Central Administration.