Minister of Justice and Employment Lindström: growing pressure to enhance integration policies

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 10.2.2016 10.00
Press release
Almost 32,500 asylum seekers arrived in Finland last year. Around 30-35 per cent of them will probably be granted a residence permit, and these over 10,000 people need to be placed in municipalities. At the moment, the local authorities can provide placement for only 1,700 immigrants. This means that more than 8,000 places are still needed.

Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment are exploring the opportunities of municipalities in their area to receive more immigrants. Local authorities have expressed concerns about the sufficiency of integration training and central government transfers, for example.

- The Finnish Immigration Service has hired a lot of new employees to process asylum applications. Pressure on us to enhance integration policies is growing. In municipalities across the country, more places are needed for those who have been granted asylum, says Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström.

Central government compensates local authorities for integration costs at the initial stage of integration. Additional funding has been allocated for this purpose in the 2016 Budget.  

Immigrants to enter employment or education more quickly

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Finnish Immigration Service will review the procedures for placing those who have been granted asylum in municipalities and starting their integration process. In future, asylum seekers' skills will already be assessed while they are at reception centres.

The aim of these measures is to direct immigrants to areas that can provide them with housing, and education or jobs that meet their skills. This also aims to address the problem of labour mismatches.

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Finnish National Board of Education will improve integration training to make it more working life-oriented. Immigrants should be able to enter education more and more quickly than before. Education should also be tailored for them. In addition, immigrants will be supported in setting up their own business.

- It is clear that it won't be easy. We will be reforming our integration policies and principles in a tight schedule. All measures must also be cost-effective, and no shortcuts will be provided, adds Mr Lindström.

Mr Sakari Puisto, Special Adviser to the Minister of Justice and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8150
Ms Tuija Oivo, Director General, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 50 396 0168
Ms Kristina Stenman, Migration Director, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 29 504 7048