Municipalities and the reception of refugees
The municipalities are in a key role in the reception and integration of refugees: the services offered in a municipality and its climate of attitudes determine both the opportunities and challenges of immigrants moving into the municipality and their integration.
A municipality receiving refugees needs to organise integration services, build up the competence of its personnel and make economic investments. By accepting persons entitled to international protection, municipalities support the implementation of human rights and a diverse and open society.
The municipality must promote integration at local level
Under the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration, municipalities are responsible for developing, planning and monitoring integration at local level. Municipalities shall also ensure that the municipal services are suitable for the needs of residents with immigrant background, including refugees.
A precondition for the smooth reception and integration of immigrants is close cooperation between the municipality and various actors, including the reception centre, the ELY Centre, the third sector and business life stakeholders. The integration of new residents in the municipality also requires an open atmosphere and good ethnic relations. For this reason, it is important to support encounters between immigrants and other residents and influence attitudes in a manner that promotes openness.
From a newcomer into a municipal resident
The permanent settlement in a municipality of beneficiaries of international protection is supported by
- high-quality integration services,
- a possibility to move on to education or the labour market, and
- a genuine experience of being part of the municipality’s communities.
Municipalities should also introduce operating models encouraging immigrants to become permanent residents that have been found workable in other municipalities.
The attitude that all persons arriving in the municipality are accepted as residents encourages immigrants to settle in the municipality. Like all other Finnish residents, beneficiaries of international protection need a safe and secure environment and a community that includes them so that they can get on with their lives.