The central government reimburses the costs of receiving refugees to municipalities
Under the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration, municipalities are entitled to reimbursement paid by the central government for providing integration services. The reimbursements are intended for covering the costs of directing and guiding refugees and other activities that support their integration.
The precondition for receiving reimbursements is preparing a municipal integration programme referred to in the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration and concluding an agreement on the placement of immigrants in the municipality and promoting their integration with the ELY Centre.
The reimbursements are divided into imputed reimbursements and those paid on the basis of actual costs.
The reimbursements are paid to the municipalities by the KEHA centre, which provides development and administrative services for the ELY Centres and TE Offices.
The municipality is paid imputed reimbursements for each person it receives:
- EUR 2,300/year for persons aged 7 or over, and
- EUR 6,845/year for persons aged under 7.
The period over which reimbursement is paid is four years for quota refugees and three years for persons arriving through the asylum procedure. The payment of imputed reimbursements was automated in spring 2016.
In addition, the KEHA Centre pays the municipality a reimbursement amounting to EUR 700 for each person for which the municipality has prepared an initial assessment.
Reimbursements paid in accordance with actual costs
Special social welfare and healthcare costs
Special social welfare and healthcare costs may be reimbursed to a municipality based on the actual costs, such as:
- provision of long-term social and healthcare resulting from a disability or an illness
- special social welfare costs (including child welfare)
- other special costs incurred by the municipality
- costs of services for unaccompanied children and young people.
These costs must be substantial and exceed the annual imputed reimbursement (EUR 2,300). Reimbursement for these costs is paid for a maximum of ten years. Costs incurred by the municipality in providing services for unaccompanied minors will be reimbursed until the young person in question is 21 years old.
The costs are reimbursed under an agreement between the municipality and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment on special costs related to a specific person.
Interpretation and translation services
A municipality is reimbursed for the cost of interpretation services needed for
- social welfare and healthcare services,
- preparation of the integration plan,
- using integration services offered in the early stage of immigration,
- introduction training in the municipality, and
- cooperation between the school and the day-care centre.
Translation costs may also be reimbursed on a case-by-case basis. The KEHA Centre reimburses the costs to the municipality in full based on the service provider's invoices.
The costs incurred in paying social assistance to a person belonging to the target group are reimbursed to the municipality based on the actual costs. Reimbursement for these costs is paid for a maximum of three years.
A municipality may provide a person who is voluntarily returning to his/her home country or country of origin for reasons other than temporary stay with reasonable compensation for his/her travel and relocation costs. The municipality may also provide a single person with return assistance corresponding to a maximum of two months’ basic amount of social assistance and a family with return assistance corresponding to a maximum of four months’ basic amount of social assistance.
The compensation for travel and relocation costs and the return assistance are granted on application by the municipality where the person resides. There is no set period for reimbursing the costs incurred in granting return assistance to a municipality.
Central government transfers to local government
The percentage of immigrant population in a municipality impacts the central government transfers paid to the municipality. This rate is calculated on the basis of the foreign language coefficient. The state also pays municipality of residence reimbursement to an education provider if a child aged 6–15 receiving pre-primary education or basic education or any other pupil in the age of compulsory education qualifying for the municipality of residence reimbursement does not have a home municipality in Finland.