Determined action to make integration policy more strongly based on information
In its plenary session on 28 March 2019, the Government took note of the Parliamentary communication on the effectiveness of the integration of immigrants. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is now preparing an action plan to be submitted to the Parliament. It will also assess the impacts of the integration measures taken during the current parliamentary term.
On 23 January 2019, the Parliament approved, based on the Audit Committee’s report, a position statement on the effectiveness of the integration of immigrants. In its statement, the Parliament asks the Government to prepare a comprehensive action plan addressing the need to modify integration measures and proposing reforms to be implemented. The action plan is to be submitted to the Parliament by the end of 2020.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has addressed the Parliament’s position statement in the Government Annual Report. The Ministry will provide the Parliament with an account within the requested schedule.
One of the priorities of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government was to accelerate education and employment paths in order to make integration measures more compatible with the requirements of working life. Steps have also been taken to improve the integration of children, young people and families. Many of the reforms are fairly new, which means it is too early to assess their impact on the employment of immigrants. The impacts of integration measures and reforms of the education system already implemented on the education and employment paths of immigrants will be assessed in the report. Other factors assessed include the effects of labour market structures, social security, and the receptiveness of the labour market.
It is important that the integration policy and any related reforms are based on extensive, reliable and sustained research data. In recent years, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has been strongly moving towards a data-driven integration policy and invested in building an integration follow-up system. The next comprehensive review of integration and good relations between different population groups, prepared during each parliamentary term, will be completed in autumn 2019. The information provided in this review will also be used to assess the need for an integration policy reform.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has launched the preparation of an intersectoral Government Integration Programme for 2020–2023, which will include objectives and actions for the integration policy. The programme will be prepared in consultation with a number of different interest groups. This process also will be of much use in the preparation of a report required by the Parliament.
The working age population is decreasing, and we are already experiencing a shortage of skilled labour force. Consequently, it is important to invest in skills development and employment-promoting measures among the employed, the unemployed, and those outside the labour market, such as immigrants. The objective of the integration process is to prepare immigrants to enter working life as soon as they have the necessary capabilities. The need for integration measures is individual, and depends largely on the immigrant’s background and situation in life. It is also important to recognise that the structures and receptiveness of society and the labour market have a major impact on integration.
Sonja Hämäläinen, Migration Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7112