A number of asylum seekers at the Kolari reception center expressed happiness about plans by the Finnish Immigration Service to close Finland’s northernmost center on November 31.
“This is good news and we are all very happy at the camp, the Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis and everyone,” an asylum seeker told Migrant Tales by phone. “We heard the news today and are hopeful that some of us will be transferred from here before November.”
While the closing of the reception center was welcome news, the asylum seeker said he was concerned about the hard line that the Finnish Immigration Service was taking on granting residence permits to asylum seekers.
“There are many negative decisions and this is something that concerns us,” the person said.
According to some estimates, about 10,000 asylum seekers out of a total 32,500 that came last year will get residence permits.
The Finnish Immigration Service announced Monday that it will close an additional 23 asylum centers for adults and 21 for minors this year, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
Kolari is a village of 3,857 inhabitants north of the Arctic Circle and its reception center has been described by some of the asylum seekers as “a living hell.”
The Kolari reception center made headlines earlier this month when over 120 asylum seekers at the camp carried out a peaceful demonstration against the deputy manager, who was sacked the following week.