Working Together: Skills and Labour Market Integration of Immigrants and their Children in Finland

image of Working Together: Skills and Labour Market Integration of Immigrants and their Children in Finland

While Finland’s foreign-born population remains small by international standards, growth has been amongst the fastest in the OECD. Finland’s foreign-born population have lower employment rates than native-born Finns, and women, in particular, are struggling to integrate and face incentives to stay in the home. Indeed, the employment gap among those arriving from outside the European Union is among the largest in the OECD. This risks long-term implications for the integration of their children, many of whom are struggling to thrive in the Finnish school system. Large inflows of asylum seekers in 2015 put integration squarely on the agenda, and Finland developed a number of innovative integration policies in response. Yet, numbers have since fallen dramatically, raising questions of how to respond to the needs of a large cohort without scaling up the integration system on a permanent basis. This review, the second in a series on the skills and labour market integration of immigrants and their children, provides an assessment of these and other challenges. It includes a holistic assessment of Finland’s integration services – such as the new modular integration training, and the Social Impact Bond – as well as challenges related to settlement, early labour market contact and workplace segregation. An earlier review in the series looked at integration policies in Sweden (2016).


Integration services for new migrants and settlement across Finland

In offering a comprehensive integration support to all resident migrants who are seeking work, or claiming social assistance, Finland stands apart from many other OECD countries. Indeed, where in other Nordic countries public provision of integration services tends to be reserved for those migrants – usually refugees and their families – who do not have the resources to fund their own integration. In Finland, the majority of participants of integration training are not humanitarian migrants. Early integration services in Finland are built around the integration assessment, plan, and training. However, little is known regarding the extent and content of training and, in practice, much emphasis is put on language. This chapter sets out the core services at the heart of early integration efforts in Finland. It outlines some of the bottlenecks that currently compromise the efficiency of these services and takes a closer look at the relationship between early settlement patterns and integration outcomes.


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