Children who arrive in Finland as asylum seekers are protected as asylum seekers, but primarily as children. On this principle, Finland honours the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which minors have the right to special protection and support. An underage asylum seeker who arrives unaccompanied means an asylum seeker under the age of 18 who is in Finland without his/her guardian.
An underage asylum seeker who arrives unaccompanied is accommodated at a reception centre meant specifically for children where his/her daily needs are attended to. Education is organised for the child, based on his/her age and skills. If necessary, an interpreter assists.
While his/her asylum application is being processed, the child is given a representative. The representative sees that the child’s interests are looked after, helps in official matters and is present at the asylum interview, which is part of the asylum application process. The asylum application of a minor is processed as a matter of urgency.
Because minors have special rights and obligations specified in law, establishing the age of an asylum seeker is also important. If the age of an applicant cannot be established with certainty, a forensic examination may be done on him/her. This examination is usually carried out on the teeth and carpal bones. If the applicant refuses the examination without an acceptable reason, he/she will be assumed to be an adult. He/she will then be moved to a reception centre for adults. When the asylum decision is being made, he/she will also be considered an adult.
Read more in English:
Unaccompanied minors who arrive in Finland and age assessment