Central administration: Ministries and agencies
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the integration of immigrants, integration legislation and promotion of employment among immigrants. The ministry also guides the activities of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) in integration issues. Together with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment monitors the trends in labour immigration and its structure.
The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for drafting immigration policy and legislation on immigration and citizenship. The Ministry of the Interior is also in charge of the Finnish Immigration Service’s performance guidance. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for equality and discrimination issues in cross-administrative cooperation with the rest of the central government, local and regional authorities, NGOs, social partners and, in particular, organisations, communities and advisory bodies that represent different groups.
The Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations (Etno) is a broad-based advisory body in issues related to refugees, immigration, racism and ethnic relations.
The task of the Ombudsman for Minorities is to promote the equal status, non-discrimination and legal protection of minorities and foreigners and good ethnic relations in Finland. The Ombudsman for Minorities also serves as the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings.
The Finnish Immigration Service issues first residence permits, processes asylum applications, directs the activities of the reception centres, makes decisions on refusals of entry and deportations, processes citizenship applications and issues alien’s passports.
The remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture covers developing education and training for immigrants at different levels as well as issues related to culture, sports, youth work and religion.
The responsibilities of the Finnish National Agency for Education include developing teaching, education and training, recognising foreign qualifications and developing, carrying out and supervising general language proficiency tests.
The mandate of the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health covers issues related to the basic security, welfare and health of immigrants living in Finland.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for the visa policy. Finnish foreign missions issue visas and receive citizenship declarations and applications for residence permits.