Guidance and advice
Under the Integration Act, municipalities, Employment and Economic Development Offices and other authorities shall provide immigrants with appropriate guidance and advice concerning measures and services promoting integration and working life.
The Integration Act aims to reinforce the general duty to provide advice in issues that concern immigrants. An authority shall provide to its customers the necessary advice, within its competence, for taking care of administrative matters; as well as respond to questions and queries on its service. Advice shall be provided free of charge.
If the matter does not fall within the competence of an authority, it should direct the customer to the competent authority. Other authorities referred to in the Integration Act include the Finnish Immigration Service, the Social Insurance Institution Kela, the occupational safety authorities and the Finnish Tax Administration.
To guide and advise immigrants and to inform them of the services, new work forms and efficient cooperation between the authorities are also required.
Access to basic services and the ability to recognise immigrants’ service needs may vary depending on the municipality of residence and the competence of those working in the basic services. The services may also be targeted at specific immigrant groups, such as refugees and returnees. Different local and regional models have been created for the organisation of guidance and advisory services.