Getting started with integration

The administration of immigrant affairs is organised differently in different municipalities. The most significant factors in this are the size of the municipality and the number of immigrants living there. The integration programme specifies the responsibilities of different stakeholders.

A municipality has a general and coordination responsibility for the development, planning and monitoring of integration at local level. The municipalities may engage in sub-regional cooperation with neighbouring municipalities in integration, as many of them do. Integration involves multiprofessional cooperation, in which the municipality partners with the TE Office, the police, and local organisations and communities.

The municipality must develop the competence of its professionals in integration affairs

Persons who have been granted international protection may come to the municipality as quota refugees directly from abroad or from reception centres as agreed between the ELY Centre and the municipality. Persons who have been issued with residence permits may also move from a reception centre to a municipality on their own initiative.

Quota refugees always arrive in a municipality based on an agreement, and they need extensive support and guidance in the initial stage. Persons who move to the municipality on their own initiative have access to at least some type of housing and possess experience of living in Finland. They are directed further in the service system step by step and as needed.

Settling in a new country is a major change for a person that rarely takes place without a hitch. This is why professionals who encounter refugees and other immigrants should be familiar with the different stages of the immigration process.

Integration requires cooperation

The municipalities should therefore ensure that their personnel receive training in integration affairs. They may engage in sub-regional cooperation with neighbouring municipalities, and many of them do, especially in education and training issues.

Under the law, integration must be developed as multiprofessional cooperation, in which the municipality partners with the TE Office, the police, and local organisations and communities.