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Integration guide: from Ukraine to Finland

This page is designed to provide useful information for Ukrainian refugees who are now living in Finland or are planning to move here. Here, you will find information on a variety of topics, including transportation, healthcare, banking, and government services such as Migri and the police. Our goal is to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to navigate life in Finland and to feel more at home in their new community. We hope you find this information helpful.

The information on this page is constantly being updated and supplemented 

Extra info resources:

Important information on Temporary protection from 7.9.2023 !

Resource Mirgri

"As of 7 September 2023, Finland will not issue residence permits on the basis of temporary protection to third-country nationals and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine on the basis of a temporary residence permit. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries that have not joined the European Union or the Schengen Agreement.

The change does not apply to

  • Ukrainian citizens and their family members

  • persons who have been granted international protection in Ukraine and their family members or

  • persons who have resided in Ukraine with a permanent residence permit if they are unable to return to their home country in safe and durable conditions.

The change applies to applications for temporary protection that have been submitted on 7 September 2023 or later. The Finnish Immigration Service will decide applications submitted before 7 September 2023 in accordance with the previous decision-making practice.

Residence permits already granted in Finland on the basis of temporary protection are valid until 4 March 2024.

The change in granting temporary protection to third-country nationals and stateless persons is based on a decision of the Government."

1. Moving to Finland

A lot of useful information on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service Migri.fi

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You can enter Finland without a visa, without a passport, without the Covid-19 vaccine! Just tell them at the border that you are seeking asylum!

 

Tip: In Finland you can only pay in euros. Try to exchange the hryvnia into euros before entering Finland at a favorable exchange rate. If you do not have time, you can exchange on the ferry or at the railway station in Helsinki. In small localities will not be such an opportunity, and in the early days you may need euros for personal needs.

The Finnish Immigration Service is not yet issuing negative decisions to Ukrainian citizens, which would lead to eviction from the country, and will not refuse entry to Ukrainian citizens!

2. Moving to Finland

2.1 What you need to know when you travel in the EU

See more on the European Union website

Ukrainian nationals holding a biometric passport, as visa-free travelers, have the right to move freely within the EU after being admitted into the territory for 90 days. On this basis, you are able to choose the EU country in which you want to enjoy the rights attached to temporary protection and to join your family and friends in the EU country where they are present.

 

If you are entitled to temporary protection but hold a non-biometric passport, authorities at the border of the EU country of first entry should issue a short-stay visa valid for 15 days when entering the Schengen area. This will allow travelling to the EU country of destination to enjoy the rights attached to temporary protection.

 

If you are entitled to temporary protection but do not hold a travel document, it will be up to the authorities at the border of the EU country of first entry to allow you continuing your journey if needed, e.g. by issuing a travel document and a visa or by using transfer forms relating to temporary protection legislation.

 

If you crossed the EU border for the first time through a country that is not part of the EU area without internal border control (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland) your documents will, as a general rule, be checked again at the border crossing point of the next Schengen country. Please see also the explanations about the registration of unaccompanied or separated children.

2.1 What you need to know

2.2 Options after crossing the Ukrainian border

For citizens of Ukraine:

 

1. Right of independent stay up to 90 days in EU countries.

 

2. Temporary protection mechanism - temporary protection is for people fleeing from war in Ukraine. We recommend refugees fleeing from Ukraine to apply for temporary protection. Applications for temporary protection are processed much faster than applications for asylum.

 

3. Refugee status - you can apply for refugee status later, after you applied for temporary protection (see the end of the handout).

The applicant can only apply for temporary protection or asylum, or both. The police or the Border Guard will inform the applicant about the differences between temporary protection and asylum.

 

 

Finnish police website Poliisi.fi

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2.2 Options after crossing

2.3 Who can receive a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection?

  • Citizens of Ukraine who cannot return to Ukraine because of the Russian invasion: 

  • Citizens and stateless persons of the European Union and non-Schengen countries who have resided legally in Ukraine and it is impossible or unsafe for them to return to their country of origin

  • Family members of Ukrainians and persons enjoying international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, if family relations were established in Ukraine before 24.02.2022.

"As of 7 September 2023, Finland will not issue residence permits on the basis of temporary protection to third-country nationals and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine on the basis of a temporary residence permit. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries that have not joined the European Union or the Schengen Agreement.
 

The change does not apply to

  • Ukrainian citizens and their family members

  • persons who have been granted international protection in Ukraine and their family members or

  • persons who have resided in Ukraine with a permanent residence permit if they are unable to return to their home country in safe and durable conditions.

The change applies to applications for temporary protection that have been submitted on 7 September 2023 or later. The Finnish Immigration Service will decide applications submitted before 7 September 2023 in accordance with the previous decision-making practice.

Residence permits already granted in Finland on the basis of temporary protection are valid until 4 March 2025.
 

The change in granting temporary protection to third-country nationals and stateless persons is based on a decision of the Government."

Read more on Migri website

2.3 Who can receive a residence permit

2.4 Options with Temporary Protection

● Receipt of a 1-year visa for temporary protection residency.

● Access to work. In this case, there is no requirement for 6 months (unlike refugee status).

Access to education. Children under 18 years of age have the right to study in educational institutions at the same level as citizens of the host country.

● Housing provision (accommodation in a center or provision of funds for accommodation).

Access to social security and medicine.

● Possibility of obtaining refugee status in the future.

 

How long is the residence permit for temporary protection valid?

The first residence permit for temporary protection is issued for a maximum period of one year. According to the decision of the Council of the European Union, temporary residence permits will be issued until 03.04.2023, but further permits can be issued after that.

2.4 Options with Temporary Protection

2.5 What is the difference between temporary protection and refugee status?

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2.5 What is the difference between temporary protection and refugee status?
2.6 What kind of support can you get in Finland?

2.6 What kind of support can you get in Finland?

You can make your own arrangements for accommodation or live at the reception center. You can receive various services at the reception center: medical services, social services and material assistance if you do not have your own income or means. The application is made separately at the reception center. You will be given a card to which money will be transferred or may be given cash. The center also provides information, guidance and advice on various household issues.

 

You receive reception services when:

● you apply for temporary protection

 

You will be granted a residence permit on the basis of Temporary Assistance

 

You will receive reception services until:

● you leave Finland

You will continue to receive reception services until:

● you leave Finland; 

● you are granted another residence permit

Your residence permit under subsidiary protection

 ● expires and you can return to your home country undisturbed.

2. The process of applying for Temporary Protection

1. When you arrive in Finland, go to the police or border guard and inform them of your intention to apply for temporary protection. Filing an application is free of charge. Please note that the police must provide you with an interpreter.

It is advisable to apply for temporary protection even if you have already applied for asylum - applications for temporary protection are processed much faster.

 

2. The police or border guard registers your application for Temporary Protection and records

  • your personal details and place of residence

  • Your personal details about your arrival in Finland and your travel route

 

Details of your family members

photos, fingerprints and signature will be required.

 

3. The police or border guard will ask you whether you only want to apply for temporary protection or whether you also want to apply for asylum.

They will explain to you the difference between temporary protection and asylum so that you can make an informed decision. You can also apply for asylum at a later date.

4. After registration, the Finnish Immigration Service makes a decision about your application.

5. You will receive a copy of the decision.

If you have been granted temporary protection and you have also applied for asylum, the Finnish Immigration Service will suspend the processing of your asylum application as long as your residence permit issued on the basis of temporary protection is still valid.

3. The process of applying for Temporary Protection

3.Traveling from Finland 

If you are going to leave Finland but intend to come back soon, you need to inform your reception centre of your travel intentions

Send them the following information:

  • when you intend to leave Finland and how long you intend to stay outside Finland

  • the date on which you will return to Finland, if known

Include in your statement:

  • your first and last name 

  • your Finnish Immigration Service customer number

Send the statement:  

  • to your own reception centre. You will find the contact information of reception centres on the page Reception centres

4.Traveling from Finland 

4. Accommodation in Finland

If you are applying for asylum/temporary protection, you can be accommodated in a reception center. The accommodation in the reception center is arranged so that you can live with your family members. Unaccompanied minors remain in the reception center for minors.

 

Initially, the placement takes place in a temporary center, then people are assigned to permanent centers. There are centers of different sizes and in different parts of Finland. You will be directed to the center where there is room.

 

Tip: If you have cash hryvnia, then before leaving the metropolitan area change hryvnia for euros (at least 100 euros).

 

Private accommodation

You can also organize your own accommodations. You can live in private housing, for example, with a relative or acquaintance, and still register at the reception center. In this case, you can get other services provided by the center.

 

If you choose to live somewhere else than in a reception centre, you must be able to pay for your accommodation yourself. Living in private accommodation cannot be financially supported by reception centres. 

 

If your situation changes and you need accommodation, you will be arranged a place at a reception centre that has room.

 More information on Migri.fi 

 

Websites where you can find (or offer) help for refugees from Ukraine:

Commu App

Moniheli Ry

Host4Ukrain

5. Accommodation in Finland

5. Kela benefits

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 The Social Insurance Institution, is a Finnish government agency in charge of settling benefits under national social security programs.

Kela runs the Finnish social security system and grants benefits to persons in different situations. The benefits are defined in Finnish
law.

Most Kela benefits are available only if you work in Finland or have lived in Finland for at least 12 months. You can apply for Kela benefits even if you plan to return to Ukraine.

You can apply for benefits by completing an application form.

More info on Kela website

6. Kela benefits

7. Work in Finland

7.1 Remember your rights

You obtain the right to work and study as soon as you register your application for temporary protection with the police or a border control authority. If you do not have a bank account, your pay can also be loaded onto a prepaid card. In this case, ask your reception centre for instructions for your employer.

Read more on Migri.fi

If you need the best instructions and services for your situation. Answer the questions on Suomi.fi

7.2 Job Search Tips for Refugees from Ukraine
 

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The integration partnership programme of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment supports the effectiveness of the work promoting integration and social inclusion by bringing together operators and increasing multi-professional and diverse cooperation.

Read more

The integration partnership programme made perfect presentation that contains all main information on how to find a job in Finland.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSH) made a guide that provides information for foreign employee in Finland on, for example, pay, working hours and holidays.

The guide is made by the OSH authority.

7.3 Work Help Finland mobile application

 

The Work Help Finland mobile application is intended for foreign workers coming to Finland and residing in Finland. 

The application provides information about your rights and responsibilities as an employee in Finland. The application also helps you find the key parties that can help you if you suspect that you have been mistreated.  

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Download the app 

Download the free mobile application to your device from your app store:

Read more on The Ministry for internal security and migration website

7.4 Helpful links 
Various projects and programs to help you find a job. 

 

  • Startup Refugees is a social innovation founded in Finland. "We exist because the solution for the fast integration of newcomers to the labour markets needs to be created now. Together with a network of more than 1800 members, we offer asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants support in employment and entrepreneurship."Join Startup Refugees

  • Perhevapaalta työelämään (From Family leave to Working life -project) The project to help find a job after maternity leave. Website

  • Our partner Finua can novigate you where to look for a job.

  • Recruitment company specialising in the employment of immigrants. Eezy.fi

7. Work in Finland
7.1 Remember your rights
7.2 Job Search Tips for Refugees from Ukraine
7.3 Work Help Finland mobile application
7.4 Helpful links 

7.5 Recognition of International Qualifications

When searching for employment in Finland, it's valuable to understand how your education level or professional skills are evaluated in the country. This can help you effectively convey your qualifications and competencies to potential employers.

 

If you hold a diploma or qualification from a foreign institution, you might need to have it recognized to work or study in Finland. This is especially relevant in fields like construction, healthcare, social services, and education, where specific requirements based on local laws exist. If you possess a comparable qualification from abroad, you can apply for its official recognition. The Finnish National Agency for Education (Opetushallitus or OPH) offers the Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education (SIMHE) service to assist individuals seeking education continuation in Finland. This service can address your inquiries regarding qualification recognition.

7.6 Self-employment in Finland

If you have been granted temporary protection or are waiting for a decision, you already have the right to work in Finland as an employee or self-employed person, as stated in the instructions from the Ministry of Education and the Economy, which can be found here in Russian. 

 

To exercise this right, you only need a certificate from the police that you have applied for temporary protection. If the certificate has not been issued, you can request it from the Migration Service. More information about this can be found at here in the "Work" section.

 

You can register as a jobseeker at the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE services, TE-palvelut) to receive the full range of services, including different types of courses, after you have received a decision on your residence permit (it takes about 2 weeks to wait for a decision after submitting an application, the answer comes by mail/to the reception center). Here you can read about how to register at TE-palvelut) in Ukrainian. 

 

Also on the same site it is stated that it is possible to get advice in general about working life in Finland even before obtaining the right of residence and registration as a job seeker in the Office. This can be clarified by calling the Russian-speaking line 0295 020 715 (Mon-Fri 9:00-16:15). You can also get advice on what you can do in your situation and ask questions about registration at TE-palvelut at the reception center; the employees of the reception centers act as liaisons and advise on these and other issues.

8. TE-palvelut and unemployment services

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Services of TE-toimistot help people find a job, provide advice on training and manage the social benefits of unemployed jobseekers. The clients of the Employment and Economic Development Office are job seekers and employers offering jobs.

Official website

8.1 Unemployment services for persons arriving in Finland from Ukraine due to Russian aggression

(Official information from the TE-palvelut website

"Persons arriving in Finland from Ukraine due to Russian aggression can either stay in the country without a visa, apply for temporary protection or apply for asylum.

If they don’t have a residence permit, they can only work in the strictly limited professions listed in the Aliens Act.

 

The EU-activated Temporary Protection Directive entered into force on 4 March 2022. The purpose of temporary protection is to provide rapid temporary protection through a process that is more lightweight and the normal asylum procedure. Persons who have been granted a residence permit on the basis of temporary protection may work and study without restrictions.

 

Ukrainians can register as jobseekers at the TE Office, but without a registered municipality of residence, they cannot become a customer in a local government employment pilots. They are also entitled to the services of TE Offices."

"From March 1, 2023:

Due to the war in Ukraine, the employment services of persons under temporary protection in Finland always start at the TE Office, which can refer you to the local government pilot in your area from March 1, 2023. The TE Office examines the fulfilment of requirements for qualifying for the services before referring you to the local government pilot's services, meaning that your customership can be referred to the local government trial of your municipality of residence.
The basis for the transfer is the law on the local government pilots on employment (1269/2020). You belong to a customer group whose customership can be transferred to the municipality of a local government pilot no earlier than March 1, 2023."

"Persons granted temporary protection have the right to receive from the TE Office an initial assessment and integration plan. They can also participate in integration training for immigrants.

In addition, those receiving temporary protection are entitled to services provided under the Act on Public Employment and Business Service, including:

  • employment exchange,

  • information and advisory services,

  • assessments of competency and vocational skills,

  • assessment of ability to work,

  • vocational and career counselling,

  • work try-outs and pay subsidies.

Persons receiving temporary protection are not entitled to labour market subsidy.

 

 

Asylum seekers are entitled to gainful employment either three or six months after applying for asylum. The period is three months if the applicant has presented the authority with a valid and authenticated passport or other travel document. If no travel document is presented, the period is six months."

Read more on TE-palvelut website

8. TE-palvelut and unemployment services

9. Medical and psychological care

9.1 Health and Well-being Information for Individuals Arriving in Finland from Ukraine

THL has compiled Russian-language materials on health and well-being issues such as infectious diseases and vaccinations, mental well-being, and social and health services.

Read here

9. Medical care

10. Study in Finland

10.1 Health and Well-being Information for Individuals Arriving in Finland from Ukraine

In Finland, all children aged between 6 and 17 have the right to attend comprehensive school, and the reception centre can assist you in securing a school placement for your child. Education at these schools is free of charge.

For children under 6 years of age, you have the option to apply for early childhood education through the municipality. However, it's important to note that the municipality may not always guarantee a place in early childhood education for your children. In such cases, the reception centre can help you with the application process for early childhood education.

10.2 "From basic education to upper secondary studies"


Moniheli's project OmaPolku made a guidebook which  is aimed at foreign-language parents whose child is moving from basic to secondary education.

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11. Applying for a municipality of residence

Source of information DVV.fi

"You can apply for a municipality of residence from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency when you have a residence permit granted on the basis of temporary protection that is valid for one year and one of the conditions in the list below is met. Select your situation and read the instructions for applying for a municipality of residence. 

 

A) You have lived in Finland for at least one year. 

 

B) You have a job or a study place in Finland. 

 

C) You have a family member who has a municipality of residence in Finland. "

All important instructions for those who have arrived in Finland from Ukraine can be found on DVV.fi website

11.1. Comparison between reception services and services of a municipality of residence here.

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