Integration services

Three female City of Helsinki employees

The City of Helsinki provides two kinds of integration services for newcomers to the country who are registered residents. Helsinki Employment Services arranges integration services for people who are registered jobseekers, while the city’s social services arranges integration services for other eligible members of the international community.

If you are looking for integration services for registered jobseekers, please refer to the information in our Finding a job section.

If you are looking for information on relocating to Helsinki, you can find the answers to many of your questions in our Moving to Helsinki section.

This section explains integration services provided by Helsinki’s social services. These services are available to newcomers to the country who are working, studying, caring for their children at home or are outside of the job market due to a disability or retirement. All Helsinki residents who meet the criteria qualify for an initial assessment.

Initial assessment

The initial assessment for integration services provided by the city’s social services helps newcomers find the assistance and services they need. The process begins with an assessment of the applicant’s education level, language skills and work experience, among other factors. An interpreter can be present during this initial assessment, if necessary.

If applicants already know some Finnish, the city may next ask them to sit a language test. The results of the test help direct customers to suitable language training.

Personal integration plan

After this initial assessment, an assigned integration services specialist helps match customers with several kinds of information, training and services.

In most cases, the specialist and the customer will next draw up a personal integration plan together. The plan will likely include classes that help participants get to know about Helsinki and everyday life in Finland, while other classes may teach the basics of the Finnish or Swedish language. Assigned specialists can also help match participants with education and training towards a profession or other activities of interest.

As a rule, the first integration plan must be drawn up no later than three years after applicants first register their right of residence in Finland. 

The plan sets out a course of training. In most cases, this training period lasts for one to three years. Eligibility for financial aid from the state for the duration of the training period is also determined at this time.

Integration training

After the integration plan is agreed upon, participants can start their integration training. In most cases, this training takes place several days a week at educational institutions in the city. It normally includes intensive language studies and other classes that provide general information and tips about Finnish society, culture and working life.

Helsinki’s social services integration services can help to:

  • plan your education and career path
  • address wellbeing issues associated with your children or family
  • set up appointments for general or specialist healthcare
  • hook you up with suitable sports clubs, hobbies, associations or interest groups
  • find support for dealing with personal trauma, crises or substance abuse, and
  • apply for family reunification, if applicable

Find more information on the municipal services available to Helsinki residents in our Healthcare and social services section and elsewhere on this website.

Where can I find out if I qualify for these integration services?

Contact the city’s social services immigration unit at mayk@hel.fi or call +358 9 310 37573. You can also call the city’s social work phone service at +358 9 310 37577.