Successful integration of immigrants is the sum of many parts
According to a review published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 21 January 2020, employment alone is not an indication of successful integration, nor is there just one indicator for effective integration.
-Integration as a phenomenon covers multiple dimensions and factors, and involves participation from both the receiving society and the immigrants themselves. The receptiveness of working life affects the employment opportunities of immigrants, and conversely, employment affects the social participation of immigrants, which is an important contributor to successful integration, explains Sonja Hämäläinen, Migration Director at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The articles in the review note that Finland attracts international students, and that students with an immigrant background are able to repay this investment to society after graduation. It was also noted in the articles that the labour market was ethnically hierarchical: the earnings level and employment rate of highly educated immigrants who stayed in Finland was significantly below those of Finns. In addition, the number of applications immigrants needed to send before they received an invitation to an interview was much higher compared to Finns even if their education and skills profiles were identical to those of Finnish applicants.
The individual characteristics of immigrants, such as education or language skills, do not explain these integration and employment trends; it is a broader issue involving immigration policy and the attitudes of society.
At the end of 2018, the number of population in Finland with an immigrant background was approximately 400,000. Migration to Finland has been rising at a steady rate since the 1990s, with growth expected to continue. To ensure successful integration of immigrants, we need multiple perspectives into the kind of support immigrants need, what their strengths and challenges are in terms of integration, and how social structures support non-discrimination.
Every four years, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration publishes a comprehensive review of integration as part of the integration monitoring system. The monitoring system and the 2019 review are divided into the following themes: employment, education, wellbeing, participation and two-way integration. The comprehensive review for 2019 consists of indicator infographics and a research publication.
Villiina Kazi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8272
Paula Karjalainen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7117