Finland - Good Practices

The collection of best practices related to policymaking in the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is based on the research undergone by the SIRIUS project partners for Work Package 3. The examples do not provide an exhaustive list, and the list remains open for all stakeholders to provide more content by using this form.

The aim is to ensure that this remains a living community in which stakeholders can make each other aware of innovative policymaking solutions that can be adapted to various contexts to ensure a successful integration of newcomers on European labour markets. Keenly aware of the contextual differences, the SIRIUS project partners urge stakeholders to always consider the specificity of their situation before resorting to implementing any of the tried and tested practices from below.

1. Individual Integration Plans

More information about how this process operates can be found in this SIRIUS production.Imagine cannot be displayed. Refresh Browser. If issue persists, use the contact form to inform project partners of this

In the integration plan the migrants' skills are recognised and mapped (including Finnish/Swedish language skills), and their level of literacy as well as previous education and work experience are reviewed. The integration plan is made in co-operation between the municipality/TE-office (employment services) and the migrant. For unemployed job seekers the integration plan is made at the TE-office and for others at the municipality. Migrants have the responsibility to take part in the preparing of the integration plan and to follow the activities that are agreed upon in the plan. Not following the integration plan may lead to the migrant’s integration benefits being reduced.

Research indicates that receiving an integration plan substantially increased employment and annual earnings and reduced welfare dependency. The integration plans seem to have decreased the time spent in traditional active labour market courses such as job-seeking courses and increased participation in courses outside of the labour administration and in language courses, which provide migrants an opportunity to build up their host-country specific human capital.

2. Integration training

The Finnish comprehensive approach to integration continues with integration training offered to migrants. Distinctly from most OECD countries, and Nordic countries as well, integration training in Finland is offered to all migrants who are seeking work or reliant on income-support. Unlike in many other countries, the majority of participants are in fact not humanitarian migrants.  The maximum number of hours that the integration training may be continued is 2100 hours, which is substantial in international comparison. The training consists of instruction in Finnish/Swedish language, labour market skills, communication skills, cultural skills and mentoring. Also, other studies that improve a person’s vocational and labour market skills can be included. The training should also include a labour market training period. In practice, language learning is heavily emphasised in the integration training and comprises about 2/3. Providing these courses has, however, been a challenge for municipalities. The Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices) and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) are responsible for inviting tenders and obtaining trainings from course organizers. There has been a strong direction in recent years to combine vocational training and language training. During the integration training migrants can receive unemployment benefits.

Imagine cannot be displayed. Refresh Browser. If issue persists, use the contact form to inform project partners of this3. Municipality Level Integration Plans

The Act in the Promotion of Immigrant Integration - 1386/2010 - which entered into force on 1 September 2011, dictates that all municipalities must have a municipality level integration plan that can either be made by each municipality themselves or collectively by several municipalities together. The municipality level integration plan is the prerequisite for state support funding. Different municipalities have produced different kinds of programmes and there are variations on how up-to-date and comprehensive they are. Officials have noted that the migrant legislative framework in fact guides the actions of the municipality more than integration strategies and programmes. A need to develop follow-up and effectiveness estimates is identified. According to a survey among municipalities, the content of the municipality level integration programmes and their composition process had improved from 2012 to 2015.