Information and support for persons affected by the Afghanistan crisis and basic health care and social services professionals 

The Afghanistan crisis has affected persons of Afghan origin living in Finland and health care and social services professionals in interaction with them on many levels. 

This page contains the latest information on the activities of the authorities and the most important sources of information to support interactions with customers for professionals in social services and health care and other relevant parties. 

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is investigating options of assisting persons in Afghanistan

The international evacuation operation in Kabul, in which Finland also participated, has ended. Kabul International Airport is now closed and there are no commercial flights available at this time. Travel to neighbouring countries is also restricted for the time being.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has very limited means for assisting Finnish citizens or persons living permanently in Finland who still remain in Afghanistan, but the Ministry is looking at all possible options to assist these persons. The situation is under constant monitoring. If new opportunities to provide assistance arise, all citizens and Afghans living in Finland will be instructed and assisted regarding the situation. 

Persons in urgent need of assistance can turn to local or international organisations (such as the Red Crescent, Red Cross, UNHCR).

Regarding applications for a residence permit, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is working to ensure that Afghan applicants can begin or finish their residence permit process as quickly as possible.

Applying for a residence permit on the basis of family reunification or other reason

A residence permit for Finland is applied in person either online in the EnterFinland.fi system or with a paper application.

Instructions for applying for a residence permit are found on the Finnish Immigration Service website. Information about entering Finland is also available on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website.

Applying for a residence permit requires proof of identity

A person applying for a Finnish residence permit abroad must visit the Finnish diplomatic mission to prove his/her identity, provide fingerprints, and present original copies of the required documents to a mission official.

By decree of the President of the Republic, persons living in Afghanistan are served by the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi, but the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is currently exploring other options. Once a solution has been found, it will be announced on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Information about residence permits and applying for asylum is available from the Finnish Immigration Service

The Finnish Immigration Service has published a webpage with answers to frequently asked questions about the situation in Afghanistan. On the page noted, you will find answers to questions about Afghans who hold a residence permit or seek asylum in Finland, among other matters. The page also instructs which authority you should turn to in each situation. 

The questions and answers are published in Finnish, Swedish, English and Dari,  with a Pashto language version to follow as soon as possible. 

The answers to the questions are being updated as the situation develops. We recommend visiting the Finnish Immigration Service’s website for information about current issues and comprehensive instructions.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment assists in the placement of persons arriving from Afghanistan

In August 2021, the Government decided on the basis of the Aliens Act (Section 93) that persons received from Afghanistan are covered by the Integration Act. 

Persons received from Afghanistan are granted a residence permit in accordance with Section 113 of the Aliens Act. These persons can be applied for resettlement in a municipality, and municipalities are reimbursed in accordance with the Integration Act. The amount of reimbursement is calculated and paid for a period of three years from the time when the municipality of residence is registered.

Persons evacuated to Finland on the basis of decisions by the Government have been placed in reception centres around the country. The reception centres will evaluate their situation and any background information that may affect their place of resettlement, such as family ties and health. 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is reviewing regional capacity

Information about the capacity of regions to resettle persons arriving from Afghanistan is being submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service and reception centres in order to decide on the resettlements. 

If the number of persons needing resettlement is greater than that which the municipality can accommodate, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment asks ELY Centres to negotiate with the region’s municipalities for additional resettlement places. Based on preliminary evaluations by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the resettlement situation in municipalities is looking positive. 

The receiving municipality provides resettled persons with normal initial services (initial assessment and integration plan). If necessary, this is done in the form of multidisciplinary cooperation with unemployment services, for example. 

Most of those arriving from Afghanistan are families of varying compositions and sizes.

Professional support and assistance is provided to those who need it

The Afghanistan crisis has been particularly hard for those with relatives or friends in the country. 

The situation in Afghanistan has been covered prominently in the media, which may have resulted in the need for psychosocial support for many people who have moved to Finland from crisis areas. Services for persons in need of assistance and support are provided primarily from basic health care and social services, but if necessary, referrals to specialised care are provided in accordance with standard practice.

In the case of existing clients of basic health care and social services, psychosocial support should be primarily provided in connection with other services.  Third-sector organisations also provide crisis assistance and counselling around Finland.

In basic health care and social services, it is important to ensure that persons in need of assistance and support have equal access to services, regardless of their place of residence. For example, equality and accessibility must be ensured in access to counselling.

Professionals providing guidance or directing to services must ensure that the client is directed to obtain accurate and validated information from official sources. It should be noted that information may need to be revised as the situation and circumstances change.

Professionals in basic health care and social services should be prepared for the possibility that future developments in the situation in Afghanistan may increase the need for assistance among persons affected by the crisis. This should be acknowledged by offering low-threshold, remote or face-to-face counselling as well as other support, whenever possible.

Helpful links: 

Further information

Henna Leppämäki, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Clients and Services in Healthcare and Social Welfare / APO, Service System Unit / PAL 0295163132