03.11.2017

International House Helsinki caters to the needs of employers and skilled internationals

The guidance and public authority services essential to the integration of immigrants into the labour market are compiled under the same umbrella at International House Helsinki (IHH). In addition to private customers, IHH assists companies and employers with issues related to foreign labour force and the recruitment of it. The service starts in December 2017 in premises provided by the Local Register Office of Uusimaa on Albertinkatu in Helsinki.

IHH offers its services to all international residents who have recently moved to the metropolitan area. The area of operation for the employer service is the entire Uusimaa region.

The main target group for IHH's customer service includes foreign-born persons who have migrated to the area for work or entrepreneurial purposes and persons who possess the abilities to secure employment on the open labour market without comprehensive support measures.

"The Helsinki region wants to be increasingly international. This requires services such as the International House Helsinki model, by which we make the transition of incoming international residents into the society and the labour market more fluent. At the same time we offer help and information to employers on questions relating to foreign labour force", says City of Helsinki Director of Economic Development Marja-Leena Rinkineva of the goals set for the project.

The operations are undertaken to secure the availability of labour force and the functionality of the labour market, as well as to make Finland and the metropolitan area an increasingly attractive destination to skilled international labour.

"The competition for skilled labour and international investments is getting tougher all the time. Fluent and fast immigration and settlement services for the labour force are an important factor in increasing the attractiveness of the Helsinki region. International House Helsinki is a significant step in helping companies attract to Finland the skilled professional labour that they need", emphasises Markku Lahtinen, Project Manager of the COME project at the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.

To-be permanent service starts with pilot project

The duration of the pilot phase, which starts in December in the premises provided by the Local Register Office of Uusimaa, is six months, but the operations can continue in the same premises at least until the end of 2018.

"International House Helsinki offers a platform for developing new operational models, which can then be copied to other places in Finland as well. The fact that the pilot project can be started even before year-end tells of the strong commitment shown by our collaborators. We are especially happy about the initiative taken by the Local Register Office of Uusimaa in providing the premises", says Project Manager Elina Nurmi with gratitude. 

The service pilot project is coordinated by the City of Helsinki and it includes services by City’s immigrant information service, the Local Register Office of Uusimaa, the Tax administration's and Kela's In To Finland service, the Uusimaa Employment and Economic Development Office, the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce and the Finnish Centre for Pensions. Later, the service offerings will be expanded to include services by other operators as well, such as the Finnish Immigration Service, the police and the SAK's employee rights advisory service for immigrants.  

Encouraging results from similar service models in other countries

International House Helsinki is the first service in Finland to offer a majority of the information and public authority services needed by newly arrived international residents under the same umbrella. In the future, the customer needs to make only one visit to, for example, get the population register entries, a tax deduction card or a tax number, an ID or a Kela card or to receive guidance on how to register as a job-seeker. 

Similar service models have been used in, among others, Copenhagen since 2013 and Lisbon since 2004, and the experiences from those have been good. 

Web service in support 

To support the operations of the service center and to reduce the number of unnecessary visits, there will also be a web service, which helps the customer with finding the right public authorities and states, for example, which documents should be brought along at the visit.

The web service will be in test use in December, when the IHH operations start. 

Information concerning the opening day and opening hours of the International House Helsinki service will be published later. 

The development of the International House Helsinki service is part of the regional At Work in Finland project, whose partners also include the Cities of Espoo and Vantaa, the Uusimaa Employment and Economic Development Office, SAK and Moniheli ry. The project is co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.