Guide to being Finnish

Finnish authorities encourage integration

Posted by | 3rd September 2012 | Finland Immigration, Moving to Finland, Why Finland

The Finnish Integration Act aims at helping immigrants participate in the Finnish society in the same way as every- one else living in Finland.

Immigrants in the working age are supported in accessing working life. This speeds up the integration process, at the same time ensuring that the immigrants’ competence and education are utilised by the Finnish society. The municipal and te Office immigrant advisers and counsellors will be happy to help newcomers get started.

The Finnish municipalities receiving immigrants encourage the integration of the newcomers by preparing for them an integration plan. It contains a plan of municipal services supporting the integration of the immigrants.

Personal integration plans

If your Finnish municipality of residence has been established and you are unemployed and eligible for labour market subsidy, you have the right to an integra- tion plan and the services agreed in it. Your subsistence for the period of validity of the plan will be secured by the payment of integration assistance (see page 33). In addition to the working-age immigrant him/herself, an employment adviser and, if necessary, a represent- ative of the municipality will be involved in preparing the integration plan. An interpreter’s services can be used for support.

The integration plan will be prepared for no more than three years, or until the immigrant finds a job at the open labour market. In special cases, the planning period can be extended to five years.

Learning the language opens doors

One of the most important preconditions for integration is learning Finnish or Swedish. When preparing the integration plan for an immigrant, the first is usually to find out about the local opportunities to study Finnish or Swedish. Various forms of language training are available, particularly in larger municipalities. Ways of improving your language skills and knowledge of the Finnish society include independent studies or adult education centres, general upper secondary schools for adults, folk high schools or open universities.

Updating vocational skills

A wide range of integration training is also organised as labour market training. In addition to studies in Finnish or Swedish, the courses provide information about Finnish society and working life as well as vocational guidance. The studies also include on-the-job training.

Employers typically require the prospective employee to demonstrate their suitability for the job in question before concluding an employment relationship.

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