Work and study activities at finnish reception centres will be renewed
Finnish Immigration Service will renew the work and study activities arranged by reception centres for asylum seekers. The intention is to find out whether the reception centres could organise more activities such as workshops, information events and short training courses that would help asylum seekers enter working life.
Organising work and study activities belongs to the tasks of reception centres. The asylum seekers usually study Finnish or Swedish in the reception centre. In addition, they receive information on Finnish society and how it works. Work activities currently often comprise cleaning and repair work in the area of the reception centres.
The aim is that reception centres could direct the asylum seeker to work and study activities that best suit their capabilities. They can also be encouraged to enter activities outside of the reception centre. Offering the possibility to learn Finnish and participate in activities with a purpose are the most important ways of supporting people’s well-being, activeness and the ability to cope.
"The intention is to create a work and study activity model with a purpose that takes account of the resources of reception centres and the diversity of their inhabitants" says Sari Hammar, project manager of the Osaka project that was set up to develop work and study activities.
People living in reception centres also have the obligation to participate in the activities. Refusal to participate may reduce the amount of the reception allowance.
The intention is to already assess the asylum seeker’s education as well as previous working experience and interests more systematically during their stay at the reception centre. Another aim is to document their previous expertise and the skills they have developed after arrival in Finland, such as progress made in language studies. There is currently variation in the extent to which such information is gathered from asylum seekers.
The information will be of use in employment and economic development administration as well as in municipal integration services after an asylum seeker, having received a favourable permit decision, moves away from the reception centre to live elsewhere in the municipality. In addition, the asylum seeker receives the information for use when applying for a job, for example. In addition, also those having to leave Finland will then receive a document that demonstrates their competence and the skills and capabilities they have developed during the time spent in the reception centre.
Asylum seekers come from different backgrounds and have varying life situations. For example, the possibilities of people in a vulnerable position to participate in activities outside of reception centres can differ considerably from those of qualified experts who can quickly enter working life.
"The responsibility for activeness and participation in the end lies with the asylum seeker. They are also free to enter suitable studies and pastimes outside of the reception centre" says Ms Hammar.
The asylum seeker can also enter gainful employment within three or six months after having applied for asylum in Finland.
The Osaka project will continue until the end of 2019. The partner in the project is the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The project is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).