The initial assessment referred to in the Integration Act means a package of measures enabling a preliminary assessment of the immigrant’s preparedness concerning employment, study and other aspects of integration and the need for language training and other measures and services promoting integration.
The initial assessment involves the examination of the immigrant’s previous education, training, employment history and language skills and, if necessary, other matters influencing his/her employment prospects and integration. The objective is to direct immigrants flexibly and based on their needs to the services and measures that will promote their access to the Finnish society as its active members.
In bilingual areas, the initial assessment also looks at the immigrants’ integration language and whether learning Swedish would facilitate faster inclusion in their local community.
Everyone benefits from efficient early stage integration
Efficient early stage integration benefits both the immigrant and the receiving society. For example, studies indicate that immigrants have the best motivation for language learning and other studies in the early stage after their arrival. They also have a strong drive to find employment and their place as members of society. Prolonged waiting periods and incorrectly targeted measures tend to make immigrants more passive.
If the situation can be assessed without delay and immigrants can be directed to services responding to their needs, the overall cost of promoting integration can be reduced. Correctly timed measures can reduce the immigrants’ need for special services. Accelerated integration and transition to the labour market will bring savings in the social assistance expenditure and the costs of social welfare and healthcare services. At the same time, a vicious circle of exclusion may be prevented.