New integration programme to facilitate everyday life of immigrants
The Government aims to ease the everyday lives of immigrants arriving in Finland by establishing a new integration programme. As well as increasing gender equality, equality and positive interaction between various population groups, the goal is to use extensive cooperation to ensure the active participation of immigrants in Finnish life. The programme should be finalised by the end of May 2012.
The new integration programme has a particular focus on measures that improve immigrants’ opportunities for finding employment. It also centres on promoting integration-related training and improving the conditions of immigrants in a disadvantageous position, such as young people, women and asylum seekers. The programme can also assist in the monitoring and follow-up of integration activities. In addition, the Government aims to change people’s attitudes through the new integration programme, as well as finding ways of increasing positive interaction and tolerance amongst various population groups.
The integration programme is based on the obligations laid down in the new Act on the Promotion of Integration, which entered into force on 1 September 2011, and elements of the government programme concerning integration. A ministerial working group for integration and migration policy is leading the preparation of the integration programme. The working group is chaired by Minister of Labour Lauri Ihalainen, who is responsible for integration affairs. It includes representatives of all Government parties.
In Minister Ihalainen’s opinion, successful integration of immigrants requires extensive cooperation across administrative boundaries. Ihalainen emphasises that, naturally and in their everyday activities, the various administrative branches should pay heed to the way in which they affect immigrants and their position. According to Ihalainen, this would resemble the manner in which assessment of gender-based effects has previously become part of administrative activities.
The Ministry of the Interior will take initial responsibility for the programme’s preparation. However, responsibility will shift to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy at the beginning of 2012, at the same time as responsibility for migrants’ integration affairs is shifted to the MEE. The Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance are also taking part in the preparation of this extensive programme. Responsibility for practical preparation work lies with the interdepartmental working group, comprising representatives of each of the ministries and the secretariat appointed to assist the group.
For further information, please contact
Pilvi Torsti, Special Adviser, MEE, tel. +358 (0)10 604 8005
Olli Sorainen, Government Counsellor, MEE tel. +358 (0)10 604 8022
Kristina Stenman, Director-General, Migration Department, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 (0)71 878 8640