Immigration assessment

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The content of this page are updated based on the Finnish page op_fi:Maahanmuuttoarviointi. Note that the Finnish page is larger, and this only contains the main points and topics under discussion.
Main message:

This is an open assessment done in collaboration by the ministry of employment and the economy and Yhtakoytta-project. It aims to find actions to better use the local knowledge, networks and know-how of immigrants to help Finnish businesses become more international and increase their exports.


The work is only beginning, and no actions have been yet identified. The assessment began in the beginning of March 2016, and by April we hope to have announced about the work widely enough for open participation to start producing ideas and views on the topic. The work will be completed by the end of June.



What concrete actions should be taken and why to advance those improvement goals listed in the report Innovaatiotalouden maahanmuuttopolitiikka (Raunio, May 2015[1] and that are also presented as a summary on this page under Aspects of innovation economy? Especially, how can the immigrants' local knowledge, networks and know-how be exploited to help Finnish businesses grow, become more international and increase export?


Who are the desired participants for this assessment?
  • Owner of the experiment: Ministry of Employment and the Economy (in charge: Sonja Hämäläinen)
  • Moderator: National Institute for Health and Welfare (in charge: Jouni Tuomisto), Yhtakoytta-project
  • Other desired participants:
    • Economic experts: Tekes the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Sitra the Finnish Innovation Fund, VATT Institute for Economic Research...
    • In charge of the integration of immigrants: Integration network, reception centre
    • In charge of education: The Ministry of Education and Culture, municipal training consortiums...
    • Yhtakoytta-project (OKFFI, Oxford Research)
    • Prime Minister's Office
    • National Institute for Health and Welfare
    • Anyone can participate since this is an open assessment

Intended use and users

What can the project's results be used for, and by whom?
  • The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy is the primary user. The goal is for the project's data to be used in choosing the right actions to get the most out of immigration.
    • To better motivate users to participate we should describe different ways to use the data
  • Other uses and users?


How do we narrow down the the project in relation to time, geography, research question etc.?
  • The target of this assessment are Finnish immigrants and their contribution to Finnish companies.
  • Temporally, the focus is on the time before the immigrants are fully integrated to the society.


What criteria can we use in evaluating the usefulness of different political measures?

Effect on:

  • Economy
  • The development and profit of companies
  • Welfare of immigrants
  • Amount of welfare benefits needed
  • ...


  • Timetable: the assessment will be carried out during March-June 2016.
  • Tools: Online workbase Opasnet. Public forum Collaborative writing tool Hackpad.
  • Ease of access: All of the data can be accessed via any of the websites listed above. The main communication will happen through Opasnet on the Finnish page. Widgets are used to link to different sources.
  • Language: The main language of the assessment is Finnish. The main parts of the assessment will be carried out also in English to include as many possible participants as possible. Some content (questionnaires, gallups, etc.) may be only available in Finnish.


The links in the following tables take you to pages that almost all are in Finnish.

Action suggestions for the public sector
Name Action Effects Other
1. Government pays consultants' social security The government supports the hiring of immigrants by paying the social security costs for companies when they hire immigrants as consultants. The government also pays some of the costs if the company hires an immigrant as an employee. The government has to pay, but saves in unemployment benefits. Companies get consultants familiar with foreign countries cheaper. Immigrants get jobs easier and integrate better into the Finnish society. It is hard for immigrants to find a good job in Finland. However, once they find a job, they are very satisfied with the job, the employer and co-workers. conversation on Otakantaa-page Be diverse or be dead
2. Municipalities support employment Municipalities help all unemployed in finding a job. This is done in cooperation with local companies. Language education is arranged for the highly educated. Hämeenlinnan sosiaalityön ja henkisen hyvinvoinnin palveluiden kehitämishankkeet,Työn Paikka -project, Työn Paikka jobs, Language skills is essential for working
3. Interaction and languages added to curriculum The Finnish National Board of Education adds teaching in inter-cultural interaction skills and foreign languages to the curricula on all levels, because those are the ones most needed later in life. Especially professional vocabulary in rare languages is often needed while working. The language skills and cultural acceptance of all Finns increase, which causes employers to be bolder in meeting different cultures and hiring immigrants. Foreigners through an employer's eyes -report
4. In schools preparation for job-hunting emphasised In job training, employment authorities emphasise how people with foreign background have to prepare to emphasise their special skills and basic know-how more than Finnish applicants. The more distant culture an applicant is from, the more they have to convince the employer it is not a greater risk to employ them compared to a Finnish applicant. Foreigners better learn to seek for jobs in the Finnish job market and thus find jobs more easily.
5. TEM monitors employers' views The ministry of employment and the economy begins to regularly monitor employers' views on hiring foreigners and having them as employees.
6. TEM collects good employment practices The ministry of employment and the economy collects good practises for employment foreigners from different sources and spreads them collectively.
7. Family policy supports second generation A radical change is considered of increasing the support for families with children the same benefits could be achieved than with an active immigration policy, but with less effort and problems, and possibly by a lower cost. It seems in the light of immigration research that the first generation if immigrants won't integrate very well into work life anyway. Thus both action options take equally long before the retiring masses have been replaced in the workforce.
8. Identifying recruiting needs A procedure is created for employers for identifying recruiting and know-how needs. These needs are matched with the know-how of immigrants. OSUMA-project
9. More time for people graduating The foreigners graduating from Finnish universities are given more than a half a year to find a job in their field. The people graduating have the time to find a job, so the work force educated in Finland also stays in Finland instead of having to leave because of too strict a deadline. We aducate
10. Immigrants helping historians Historians ask immigrants to participate in the research, to type hand-written text in their language into electronic form. This is significantly easier for those who speak the language in question. If the current projects (Helsinki, Jyväskylä) got ten native speakers to input text, efficiency of those working with the material would increase significantly both now and in the future. Hand-written sources are a pain for researchers, so editing the text into an electronic format would help everyone working with them. In Finland there are only a handful of these people, but in Europe there are hundreds. The work itself is no different from what genealogists do when they type church records into databases. Basically anyone who speaks the language can do it, and the only difficult thing is to fight boredom. Conversation on Otakantaa-page

Action suggestions for universities
Name Action Effects Other
11. Emphasising networking during studies Student counselors and other university staff emphasises the significance of networking to the foreign students studying in Finland. Through networking during studying students find jobs easier after graduating. Foreigners through an employer's eyes -report.
12. Parts of degrees with companies Universities develop thesis and internship processes as part of the studies in co-operation with local employers, support immigrants wanting to become entrepreneurs and increase the possibilities for immigrants to take part in further training and qualification programs and create more flexible personal study plans. OSUMA-project
13. Schools support job-hunting Universities aim at developing the job-hunting of especially foreign students. Some officials in for example recruiting services or student counseling specialise in it. Universities investigate good practices that professors and especially thesis supervisors could use to support the job-hunting of foreign students in the university with recommendations. The foreigners graduating in Finland easier find a job here and thus are more likely to stay. Foreigners through an employer's eyes -report
14. Education in foreign language part of regional development Universities tie the education in foreign languages to be a tight part of regional development through different work life projects and other cooperation, and this way offer international students possibilities for networking and to gather experience already during their studies. Practically this is done in the form of lectures, workshops, events and for example course in career planing and a guide for job-hunting. International students get jobs easier in Finland and as soon as possible after graduation. The students and the resources put into their education over the years stays in Finland instead of disappearing abroad. Pajatso-project, Pajatso-project final report
15. Graduating with good Finnish skills Education authorities make sure everyone graduating in Finland get good Finnish language skills, meaning they are able to use Finnish as the working language after graduation. Those who graduate in Finland have better Finnish skills. Thus, it is easier for them to become employed and stay in Finland. Foreigners through an employer's eyes -report
16. Recruiting channel with companies Universities increase their cooperation with local companies and together create a recruiting channel that will be useful to both students (Finnish and foreign) and employers. It is easier for foreign students to find a job, which makes them more likely to stay in Finland. Know-how of foreigners to use in Pirkanmaa
17. Immigrants to speak at schools Schools ask immigrants to come and tell about their culture, language and ways of living. Kids get first-hand information about other cultures and the rest of the world, and grow to work more naturally in the increasingly multicultural world and increasingly important international cooperation. Conversation on Otakantaa-page

Action suggestions for companies
Name Action Effects Other
18. Immigrants to translate newspapers Media companies (practically newspapers online and on paper) hire foreigners to translate the papers into their own language. The newspaper is able to increase its circulation among immigrants, who don't yet speak Finnish well. Immigrants get more new kind of information about their home area and the Finnish culture, and thus integrate into the Finnish society faster. The translators' Finnish skills increase dramatically. Also for example municipalities can support translation programs. Translator group in Hämeen Sanomat
19. Hiring immigrants Companies hire immigrants. International knowledge and know-how and language skills increase within the company. The foreigners' knowledge of their home country and language skills are useful for international companies. Hiring a foreigner increases exports to their country of origin by 1-3%. Foreigners and other people who think differently also increase innovation in groups. Immigration to power exports, With diversity in a company everyone wins, Delmi: Migration och företagens internationalisering
20. Database about immigrants' know-how Local chambers of commerce and companies create a local database about the know-how of immigrants. The knowledge of those voluntarily participating is offered as consulting service to companies interested in international markets. Of course companies can also hire them as permanent employees. Internationally interested companies gain valuable knowledge about the culture, society and language of the country of interest. The immigrant gets a job easier, if only as a consultant. Conversation on Otakantaa-page

Action suggestions to be carried out by anyone (with funding)
Name Action Effect Other
21. Language courses for highly educated immigrants Language courses are arranged for those highly educated immigrants who already speak some Finnish to learn for example professional vocabulary. Highly educated immigrants learn the language better, which makes it easier to both find work and work in Finland. Employers get a whole new group of possible employees, who speak Finnish and understand foreign languages and cultures. The immigrants' know-how and knowledge is put into better use. This type of education was tried in Korkea-project for 12 weeks, 12 hours per week. The results were positive, but there is still much to improve. Relevant questions are for example, should the immigrants be taught written or spoken language, which differ in Finnish significantly. Korkea-project
22. Events for meeting Events are organised, where employers interested in international workers and people with foreign background can meet. Immigrants find work easier and employers find internationally oriented workers easier. KV-kohtaamo event was arranged in Kuopio in the fall of 2013 and gathered together nearly a hundred international experts and company representatives. Immigrants' know-how to use -project (MOK-project), A survey about foreign workforce to companies in eastern Finland Project's newsletters: 2/2012, 3/2012, 4/2012, fall 2013, 2014. Successful recruiting stories. Twinkle
23. Monitoring hiring and working Employers include diversity management or for example meters (found in the study behind the link) for monitoring aspects of hiring and working with foreigners regularly in work places in the personnel balance sheet. This way they learn more about the backgrounds of their employees and can better use the know-how of the foreign personnel. Foreigners through an employer's eyes -report
24. Acknowledging know-how of people with foreign background Employers note the personnel with foreign background already in Finland in the development of personnel know-how or make their know-how more visible to the entire personnel at the workplace, so it can be better used to help the entire organisation. People with a foreign background surely have new points of views to offer.
25. Hiring foreigners already in Finland When creating an active recruiting policy, employer pays attention to the recruiting of the people already in Finland and those who have completed their degree here.
26. Acknowledging special needs of foreigners Workplaces better note the special needs of those with foreign background when developing personnel processes.
27. More relaxed attitude towards language requirements Employers are less strict about language requirements. Also those who haven't passed any official language requirements, but do speak the language well enough for the job, can get a job. Language skills are constantly developing while working, once you get a job. We aducate
28. Recognising know-how of asylum seekers Metropolia AMK or other interested parties develop ways to recognise the know-how of immigrants in relation to education in Finland. Asylum seekers get proof of their know-how and find jobs easier. Their know-how goes into better use in the society, once it is recognised. Those arranging education for asylum seekers gain a better idea of the initial skill level. In early 2016 Metropolia AMK has established an evaluation center to identify the engineering-related know-how of asylum seekers. The idea is to expand it to also cover other fields important to the society, like social services and health care, in cooperation with the university of Jyväskylä. The professional skills of asylum seekers should be identified, Evaluation center to Metropoliaan. CIMO: International know-how should be put to better use
29. Good practise to help with fiding a job An approach is created to help immigrants find a job through company contacts and by finding hidden jobs. Everyone is helped personally, and there is also help available with practical things, like getting the necessary work permits. There is also someone helping in the beginning to get settled at the new job. Triangeli-project
30. Training in the country of origin Those recruiting people directly from abroad arrange training in the country of origin, including both language training and general orientation to Finnish culture, working in Finland and about the future job. The training continues also after moving to Finland with the entire staff. This helps immigrants to adjust faster to working in Finland, since they have some language skills and knowledge about the country before coming to the country. The training of the entire staff brings the immigrants tightly into the group. People are seen as people, not only producers of extra value. The employer can't fund the whole thing themselves, but additional funding can come through for example ESR- or other projects. Work in Finland? A study of education in work-based immigration. MOK-project got good experiences of training in the country of origin. Immigrants' know-how to use -project (MOK-hanke), A survey about foreign workforce to companies in eastern Finland Project's newsletters: 2/2012, 3/2012, 4/2012, fall 2013, 2014. Successful recruiting stories.
31. Training to help with working life Training is arranged for foreigners already living in Finland to find work for them also, not only to the people recruited directly from abroad. Work in Finland? A study of education in work-based immigration
32. Recognising hidden competence The entire society learns to identify the hidden competence acquired through internationality. The people hired are truly the best people for the job, when also the hidden competence of the applicants are recognised instead of only the official competence. People will also be better able to tell about their know-how, if they themselves recognise their hidden competence. Language skills, cultural knowledge and tolerance are already widely recognised as parts of international competence, but curiosity, productivity and resilience also gained from international experience are often ignored. Neither employers nor applicants know how to bring out this very important side of internationality, so it is called hidden competence. These experts are those that are needed in today's and tomorrow's changing world. Hidden competence

Action suggestions for foreign job applicants in Finland
Action Effects Other
33. Networking with Finns Before seeking a job the person with foreign background aims to create networks with Finns by all means and to get to know them and ask them to be their referees. References are marked already on the application letters. It is easier for foreigners to find a job with a Finnish referee, who seems more trustworthy to the employer. For example theses supervisors get to know the way a student works over a long period of time. Student counselors could give a different kind of perspective to a foreign job applicant. They could both be good referees for a first job. Foreigners through employers' eyes -report
34. Diverse portfolio and evidence of know-how A job applicant with a foreign background makes themselves a portfolio that is as diverse as possible and takes it with them to the interview or attaches it to the application. They prepare themselves to show in the interview what they really can do. It is easier for the foreigner to find a job, if they are properly prepared for a Finnish interviewer. By the words of a stereotype: A Finn doesn't believe until he sees. Foreigners through employers' eyes -report


Contents of action suggestions

A good action suggestion whould include an answer to the questions below. Of course you can also suggest an idea, even if everything wasn't yet known. Rough estimates are allowed, but they should be mentioned to be such.

  • Content of the action: what will be done?
  • Who makes the decision about the action adnwho implements it?
  • What is a realistic schedule for implementing the action?
  • How much will it cost and who will pay?
  • What use is the action to
    • different agents (business, immigrant, economy, customer...)
    • different goals (economical, health related, social, welfare effects..)
  • What research knowledge or reports there are about carrying out the action or its impacts?


At least the following topics should be examined:

  • Foreign students and PhD candidates and getting them to Finland
  • Surveying and using the knowledge and know-how of asylum seekers.
  • Employment of asylum seekers.
  • Using the immigrants' know-how of their to develop their native countries' societies and crisis control through export of innovations.
    • Is there this kind of export currently in Finland? Could there be and what would it be?

Aspects of innovation economy

Quite quickly it was discovered innovation economy is a good topic. The point of view was chosen to be the development of innovation economy and the related question: what concrete actions should be done to further these goals and why? The report Innovaatiotalouden maahanmuuttopolitiikka[1] (Immigration policy of innovation economy) includes the following development goals:

  • The emphasis in the actions of immigration policy is in the immigration of students instead of immediate work-based immigration.
  • Within local development projects and the developer networks created the immigrants are activated to further entrepreneurship and innovation activity and different related communities are put up.
  • The activating of already working immigrant organisations and communities that have the potential to work to strengthen and internationalise local business and innovation activity. Especially the community's knowledge of the markets, culture and networks of their country of origin. Developing the communities and activity is sensible to anchor to already existing development projects and the developers' work.
  • The development of practises with which immigrants are better involved in innovation and business.
  • The search for operation models to involve the immigrant in especially difficult situations (f.ex. asylum seeking youth) in innovation and business.
  • The expansion of multilingual company counselling services especially aimed for immigrants from Helsinki to other cities and the enhancement of the process.
  • The examination of the possibility to create an attractive residence permit program or some other immigration political tool to draw entrepreneurs fo Finland from outsude the EU.
  • The strengthening of the role of business and immigrants representing business in local developer networks.
  • The national development of mentoring and a support network is implemented as part of the local developer networks, which gather together the mentoring programs in the area and furhter develop them.
  • The establishment of an international house including an office with all services available in cooperation with national operators, cities, universities, companies and immigrant organisations (developer network).
  • The composing of national participatory operational program for innovation politics and defining the operators responsible for carrying it out on national and local level.

Choosing the question

The qualitative and quantitative success of an open assessment requires a sufficient amount of participation motivation and incentive. Useful things are the open assessment's target's, meaning the decision's, effect and significance, and a real opportunity to participate and influence the outcome. If the assessment seems like apparent inclusion, it can put a permanent unconvincing label on the method. There can be a simplifies process chart to show the participators how the assessment relates to decision making.

From the point of vies of the Yhtakoytta-project it is important to try in practise an open impact assessment about a complicated decision, and for this immigration is a fitting topic. The ministry of employment and the economy was given a lot of the power to define the research question to serve their needs. The important criteria were the following:

  • The answer has to have a connection to actual decision making process, so people will be motivated to aprticipate.
  • Getting the answer and doing the assessment will take a while, so it has to be connected to a phase in the decision making process reached in the near future (3-6 months)
  • From the point of view of gathering information, the more open questions and unknown information to find out there are, the more the owner of the experiment will get out of it.
  • A good question can be about a topic so new that within the govermnet and the known stakeholders there is no easily accessible expert knowledge. A good question can also be about a topic so complicated a normal hearing and opinion requesting procedure might not comprehensively reach all points of views.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mika Raunio. Innovaatiotalouden maahanmuuttopolitiikka. Kansainvälinen muuttoliike, maahanmuuttajat ja innovaatiopolitiikka. Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö 33/2015 ISBN 978-952-227-993-4 (painettu), ISBN 978-952-227-994-1 (sähköinen) [1]

--# : Add the commenting tool here. --Jouni (talk) 14:23, 21 March 2016 (UTC)