As is their right to do so.
Opposition to the measure decries the loss of ‘revenue’ (read = taxpayer money) by the state of Finland for these centers, which has expanded its refugee quota by 300 due to the war in Syria. So the good folks of Kouvola stand to miss out on that grand opportunity.
Finns Party city council members in Kouvola want to shut down reception services for refugees in Kouvola. According to a motion tabled by council member Antti Eskelinen, the city should gradually roll back immigrant services by the end of 2016. Officials are currently putting the finishing touches on the motion.
Insufficient information in previous report on expenses
The party members have based the motion on the need to cut costs, noting that the city is trimming expenses in other services that are not legally mandated. The local municipal party group wants to see spending cuts applied to immigrant services as soon as possible.
The Finns Party group also wants to stimulate public discourse about the costs related to immigration. The group requested a report on immigration spending during the term of the previous city council, but was not satisfied with the information it received.
The city is not obliged to accept quota refugees but asylum seekers who move to Kouvola must be mapped and integration plans drawn up for them. The central government foots the bill related to refugee integration for the first four years of such programmes.
Immigration Coordinator: Information already provided
Kouvola immigration coordinator Tuija Väyrynen said that she is not entirely up to speed with the rationale for the motion sponsored by the Finns Party group.
She said that the city has been able to provide immigrant services with central government allocations, and that in 2012, there were even surplus funds. Additionally, immigrants also consume many legally mandated services such as integration planning and interpreter services.
The city of Kouvola currently employs seven persons in its immigration office. Väyrynen added that there has been no information blackout regarding costs.
“We have delivered all the requested information and we will also do so this time,” she noted.
The coordinator pointed out that Kouvola has received few quota refugees. During the past three years the city has taken in about 40 such refugees, who represent about 10 percent of all refugees in the municipality.
Väyrynen said that rolling back refugee reception would also be a great loss because government is increasing financial support for local refugee reception programmes. Because of the conflict in Syria Finland has increased its refugee quota by 300.
Municipalities that decide to take in their first refugee or even increase the number they receive will receive an additional one-time payment of 20,000 euros from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. YLE