Key concepts

Asylum seeker
A person who seeks asylum and the right to reside in a foreign country. The person has not yet been issued with a residence permit in Finland.

Basic information
Basic information on their rights, obligations in society and working life and their possibilities of accessing services that promote integration that is provided when immigrants are issued with residence permits or, at the latest, when they are registered in a municipality of residence and in the Population Information System.

Basic services
All services based on specialist legislation that the municipalities are responsible for organising and funding, especially services within the scope of the statutory central government transfers system for social and health care and education and cultural services.

Beneficiary of international protection
A person who has been granted refugee status or a residence permit on the grounds of subsidiary protection or humanitarian protection. On 16 May 2016, the provision in the Aliens Act under which a residence permit could be issued to an asylum seeker on the grounds of humanitarian protection was rescinded.

Cultural awareness
A public servant’s ability to take into account the impacts of culture on both the customer and himself or herself, for example in communication and customer contacts.

Direct discrimination
A person is treated differently from another person in the same situation. This means treatment that has negative effects on the person, including loss of benefits, financial losses or less choice. For example, not having access to services provided in your own language is direct discrimination. (Yhdenvertaisuus 2. Ministry of the Interior 2014.)

Diversity competence
Ways of thinking and operating as well as practices based on respecting and appreciating other people, regardless of their background or position. Identifying and acknowledging not only the other person’s general human needs but also needs arising from cultural differences or minority position is essential. A general objective is improving the position of those belonging to minority groups.

Refers to all those characteristics and features that make people stand out in an organisation or society. These factors include age, gender, ethnic origin, culture, religion, education, marital status, sexual orientation, attitudes and values, personality and political and financial position.

All people are equal regardless of their gender, age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. In a just society, personal characteristics, including origin or skin colour, should not influence a person’s opportunities of accessing education and different services or getting a job – the fundamental rights belong to everyone.

Ethnic background
Being part of an ethnic group. An ethnic group is a group of people that is considered to stand out because of their cultural heritage, religion, language or origin.

Ethnic relations
Attitudes that different ethnic groups have towards each other. The aim is to have good ethnic relations, or a respectful climate of attitudes and effective interaction between different population groups, regardless of potentially conflicting views.

A person who is not a Finnish citizen.

Foreign-language speaker
A person living in Finland who has registered a language other than Finnish, Swedish or Sámi as his or her mother tongue. See also foreigner.

Foreign-language speaker
A person living in Finland whose mother tongue is not Finnish, Swedish or Sámi. See also foreigner.

Guidance and advice
Instruction, guidance and advice provided by the municipality, a TE Office and other authorities on measures and services that promote integration and working life.

Immigrant in need of special measures
An immigrant who needs intensified integration measures, in particular because his or her functional capacity is lowered by an illness, disability or other reason, or because of his or her age, family situation, illiteracy or other similar reason.

A person who moves from one country to another. A general concept that applies to all those who migrate, for whatever reason.

Feeling of belonging to a larger social whole. Willingness to participate in it socially, economically and/or politically.

Indirect discrimination
A situation where a person is put in a particularly unfavourable position compared to others as a result of a seemingly neutral regulation, grounds or practice without this being acceptably justified. For example, an employee at a social services office or health centre may fail to advise an immigrant, a person with disabilities or an older person in completing an official form, regardless of noticing that the customer does not understand its contents. In this case, the customer receives the same service as all others, even if he or she needs special advice. (Yhdenvertaisuus 2. Ministry of the Interior 2014.)

Initial assessment
An assessment conducted with unemployed jobseekers and recipients of and applicants for social assistance, in which an initial assessment of the person’s capabilities for employment, study and other integration is carried out. The assessment is conducted by a municipality or a TE Office. Based on the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (sections 9–10).

Initial-stage services
Initial-stage services include distribution of basic information, provision of guidance and advice, an initial assessment, and an integration plan.

Integration Act, Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration
1386/2010, entered into force on 1 September 2011.

Integration plan
An immigrant’s individual plan detailing the measures and services that will support his or her possibilities of obtaining adequate Finnish or Swedish skills and other knowledge and skills needed in society and working life as well as promote his or her possibilities of participating in society as an equal member. An integration plan may also be prepared for a minor and, if necessary, for a family. Based on the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (sections 11-18).

Integration programme
A programme aiming to promote integration and reinforce multiprofessional cooperation prepared by a municipality (or by several municipalities together) and adopted by the municipal council. The programme is adopted by the municipal council of each municipality and reviewed at least once every four years. Municipalities take the programme into account when preparing their budgets and financial plans. Regional and local authorities and other key actors participate in its preparation, implementation and monitoring. Based on the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration (sections 32-33).

Integration training
Contains instruction of Finnish or Swedish and other teaching that promotes access to working life and further education and other civic capabilities. If necessary, integration training includes teaching of reading and writing skills. Integration training is mainly organised as labour force training. Independent general education studies may also be included in the integration plan. In that case, the studies can be financed by an unemployment benefit.

Interactive development of an immigrant and society, the goal of which is that the immigrant feels he or she is an active and full member of society. 

Multiprofessional promotion and support of integration. The means for achieving this include measures and services that promote and support integration offered by authorities and other parties. They are specified in a personal integration plan.

A person who moves from one country to another to build a new life for himself or herself there. A migrant may be an emigrant or an immigrant.

Multiprofessional cooperation
Cooperation between authorities in different branches of administration and other parties.

Non-Discrimination Act
20.1.2004/21, entered into force on 1 February 2004.

Promotion of integration
Supporting the immigrant integration process through measures taken by the authorities or other actors.

Quota refugee
A person deemed as a refugee by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to whom authorisation to enter Finland has been granted within the refugee quota.

Ideology or activities where treating people differently (discrimination) is justified by their ’race’ and physical and mental characteristics associated with it. This mentality includes stereotypical ideas of ‘races’ and ethnic groups, and often also the idea of the supremacy and domination of a certain group. The concept of race is strongly questionable in terms of modern science. Societal structures or practices that lead to inequality can also be termed racist.

A foreigner who has justified reason to fear persecution because of his or her origin, religion, nationality, membership in a certain social group or political opinion. Refugee status is granted to a person to whom asylum is granted by a state or who is considered to be a refugee by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.

An expatriate who returns to Finland. In Finland, this concept is applied to former and current Finnish citizens and persons of Finnish origin living in the former Soviet Union, including Ingrian Finns. While the latter are Finnish by their ethnic origin, they do not have Finnish citizenship.

Social empowerment
Consists of measures targeted at immigrants aiming to improve their life skills and to prevent exclusion.

The Government Integration Programme is a programme adopted by the Government that specifies the objectives and measures of integration for the government term.

The objective is that immigrants learn knowledge and skills needed in society and working life. While they are familiarising themselves with the linguistic and cultural environment of their new country, their possibilities for maintaining their own languages and cultures are supported. In return, the host society benefits from new influences and diversity.

The website has a particular emphasis on diversity related to ethnic/cultural background.