Living in Finland

Cities

Kotoutuminen Suomeen
theme icon

Integration into Finland

Integration (kotoutuminen) means that you settle in Finland and acquire knowledge and skills that you need in Finnish society. Factors that promote integration include

  • learning the language
  • finding a job or student position
  • forming contacts within Finnish society.

In Finland, you can obtain services that facilitate integration. Such services include, for example, the initial assessment (alkukartoitus), integration plan (kotoutumissuunnitelma) and integration training (kotoutumiskoulutus). If your family members move to Finland with you, they may also be entitled to these services.

Services that facilitate integration

Basic information about Finland

All immigrants are entitled to receive basic information about Finland. Upon receiving a residence permit or registering your right to reside in the country, you are provided with written information concerning

  • Finnish society and working life,
  • your rights and obligations, and
  • services that can assist your integration.

Information services for immigrants

Employment and Economic Development Offices (Työ- ja elinkeinotoimisto) and municipalities have immigrant advisors who can help you to integrate into Finnish society. These advisors can provide information on the following, for example:

  • integration and related services
  • working life
  • education and studying.

Initial assessment

The purpose of the initial assessment is to assess the services you need to support your integration. The initial assessment collects information on your education, work experience and language skills, for example. The initial assessment is conducted at an Employment and Economic Development Office (työ- ja elinkeinotoimisto) or a Social Office (sosiaalitoimisto). The assessment can also be conducted in another location, such as an educational institute. This depends on how the initial assessment has been organised in your municipality of residence.

The initial assessment is performed if you

  • are registered as a job applicant at an Employment and Economic Development Office, or
  • you receive income support, or
  • you request the initial assessment.

You can request the initial assessment from the Employment and Economic Development Office or your local Social Office, for example. Immigrant advisors can provide more information on the initial assessment and how it is organised in your municipality of residence.

Integration plan

If you require support for integration, an integration plan will be prepared for you after the initial assessment. The integration plan is always prepared if you

  • are an unemployed job seeker, or
  • you receive income support, or
  • you are under 18 years old and do not have a guardian in Finland.

An integration plan is a plan detailing measures that will aid your integration. The integration plan can include Finnish language studies, other education or practical training, for example. You can prepare the plan together with a job counsellor at an Employment Office or with a social worker at a Social Office.

The integration plan must be created no later than three years after you receive your first residence permit or register your right to reside in the country. The duration of the plan depends on how long you require support for integration. Normally, the maximum duration for an integration plan is three years. In some special cases, the plan can be extended to five years.

Once the integration plan is in force, you can obtain labour market subsidy (työmarkkinatuki) from Kela or income support (toimeentulotuki) from your municipality.

Once the integration plan has been prepared, you must adhere to it and take part in the procedures agreed in the plan, such as education and training. The authorities are obliged to make these procedures available to you.

If you have a job, your employer can sometimes help you in the integration process. For example, the employer can pay for your Finnish language course, for example. Employers can also sometimes help you to take care of various practical things, such as obtaining housing. For more information, ask your employer.

linkkiMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Initial survey and integration planFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Benefits for unemployed immigrantsFinnish | Swedish

Integration training

When the integration plan is complete, you can receive integration training. Integration training is organised by municipalities, Employment and Economic Development Offices and many educational institutes. The Employment and Economic Development Office or municipality will direct you to integration training. The integration training usually includes Finnish or Swedish studies as well as introductions to Finnish society, culture and working life.

Finnish and Swedish studies

The Infopankki page Finnish and Swedish contains information on the possibilities for studying Finnish or Swedish.

An immigrant’s native culture in Finland

Even though you move to Finland and are integrated into the society, your own culture, language and religion can still remain an important part of your life.

An immigrant association can help you to maintain and develop you native culture. There are many immigrant associations operating in Finland. More information on the associations is available on the Infopankki page Associations.

Children from immigrant backgrounds have the opportunity to study their own language. More information is available on the Infopankki page Comprehensive education.

Finland has freedom of religion. In other words, all people have the right to practice their own religion. Everyone is free to choose their own religion. Should you not want to, you do not need to choose any religion. More information on practising your own religion is available on the Infopankki page Cultures and religions in Finland.

linkkiMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Basic information about Finland(pdf, 3,40 MB)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | French | Somali | Spanish | Chinese | Persian | Arabic | Thai

linkkiMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Information on integrationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Employment and the Economy:
Working in Finland guide(pdf, 5,51 MB)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | French | Polish