Finland records record refugee numbers after Ukraine war

HELSINKI: Finland has registered a record number of asylum seekers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, beating a previous high set during the 2015 migrant crisis, Finnish authorities said Monday.

“By August 4, those fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian military attack had submitted 35,074 applications for temporary protection,” the Finnish Immigration Service said in a statement.

More than 37,000 people are currently registered in the reception system, “which is more than ever before”.

The previous record in the Nordic country was 32,000, during the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe.

“One third of those fleeing Ukraine are children,” the Immigration Service said.

It has so far processed 33,480 applications for protection, meaning around 95 percent of applicants have already received a decision.

A total of 33,231 applicants have been granted protection, meaning less than one percent have not been given asylum.

“Applicants who have received a negative decision are nationals of countries other than Ukraine.”

An applicant has the right to work immediately after registering their temporary protection application in Finland.

The latest figures from UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, show that over 6.3 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe.

Finland borders Russia, and has sought NATO membership after political and popular support for the alliance soared following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.