The country is hovering around 10% unemployed, the economy is stagnant with only 1% anemic growth to show for all their efforts, and now on top of that they’ve been shelling out the taxpayers’ hard earned cash to fund the living expenses of fraud refugees. On top of that they’re spending even more money on getting them into the ever shrinking job market.
NOTE: That will really endear them to those Finns who have been locked out of work force already for a number of years.
Authorities in Helsinki are implementing a new integration programme for immigrants, with the hope of vastly cutting the time it takes for newcomers to become part of Finnish working and cultural life.
Under the new plan, services will be centalised into one place, with a new ”skills centre” being set up in the currently unoccupied media centre in the neighbourhood of Käpylä. Here, city officials will help newcomers map out their skills, creating an integration plan which takes in Finnish language, vocational training and work life.
Officially, the current average time it takes for a newcomer to be integrated into life in Finland is seven years. Helsinki authorities believe this is too long.
”Integration has to be sped up and it must be jobs-based. Currently, integrating immigrants into Finnish working life and culture takes years,” says the city’s deputy mayor Ritva Viljanen.
The capital area is home to 60 to 70 percent of Finland’s immigrants, half of whom live in Helsinki.
”The key is that different aspects of integration must take place at the same time. We have to understand that there are many reasons why people become marginalised. What’s new in what we’re doing is that integration has to be focused around qualifications,” Viljanen said.
City authorities are trying to recruit companies who can offer work experience placements, especially in the construction industry, where there is a workforce shortage in the capital. Negotiations are also ongoing with the retail sector.
”We would like to create a portal through which the construction industry can hire people of immigrant backgrounds. This would help to eliminate the grey economy and improve people’s readiness to undertake construction work,” said Tapio Kari from the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries. But he insisted the aim was not to create a low-cost workforce for the building industry.
Helsinki authorities will be implementing the new policies this spring, and say that if the skills centre pilot is successful, the aim is to roll it out nationally.