Initiatives Supporting the Employment and Integration of Migrants and Migrant Women in Finland

In Finland, there have been considerably fewer migrants compared to other Western European countries despite the increasing migrant trend in recent years. Eurostat statistics reveal that foreign-born population in Finland accounted for approximately 6.6% of the total population in 2018. Therefore, issues that relates to migrants are rather new in this EU member state. Within the MentoraSTEAM project, the total number of ten initiatives taken in Finland to support the employment and integration of migrants and migrant women has been collected. Seven initiatives target at migrants and migrant women, and three initiatives work towards other stakeholder groups, such as businesses, employers and institutions.

TEXT | Thu Vo

International Working Women of Finland Ry

IWWOF was established as a Facebook digital networking group in August, 2019 to allow women from all walks of life to connect and support each other on their journey in Finland. The organisation welcomes international women in Finland from all identities and backgrounds to join the vibrant community. The community currently has over 6000 members.

IWWOF aims:

  • To share knowledge and empowerthe community members to help each other grow and get visibility;
  • To shape and tailor programs for highly skilled immigrants and promote a positive media narrative for underrepresented groups;
  • To promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and society;
  • To showcase organisation’s experts through various platforms and assist community members to succeed in the workforce.

Find out more about the community at:

Women in Tech Finland

Women in Tech is an organisational network and does not have individual people as members, but the events and activities are free and open for everyone. Network members include companies, organisations and other actors in the field of technology. The organisation targets towards women, which aims to encourage more women join in technology fields and promote the value of diversity, inclusion and equality in technology. Women in Tech Finland wants a more diverse technical society. The aim is to speed up the cultural shift in Finland and encourage women to work in tech industry.

Women in Tech aims:

  • To provide opportunity to network with individuals, organisations and companies;
  • To offer inspiring events around technology and its societal impact;
  • To bring up diverse role models and share career stories;
  • To share content and knowledge on gender equality in tech;
  • To raise discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion in tech;
  • To collaborate with other organisations and initiative in the technology field.

Find out more about the organisation at:

Monika-Naiset Alliance

Monika-Naiset Alliance is a nationwide, multicultural organisation that helps women with an immigrant background. The association improves the position of women in Finland. Monika-Naiset also offers integrative activities that support the social skills and employment of migrant women. This work is being done at the Integration Center Monika.

Monika-Naiset Alliance aims:

  • To promote equality and inclusion of women with a migrant background;
  • To prevents violence against women;
  • To works actively to empower women nationally and internationally;
  • To supports multicultural women’s activities through its member organisations.

Find more about the organisation at:

At Home in Finland

The “At Home in Finland” project is coordinated by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Uusimaa (Finland). The Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration participates in the implementation of the Good Path sub-project, which brings the Centre’s activities to the regional level.

The aim of the project is to develop services and processes supporting immigrant integration. The project contains two mutually supportive sub-projects: Good Start and Good Path. The Good Start involves the modelling of a national initial-stage service model for integration, which is based on the results of pilot projects. In the Good Start, the aim is to strengthen the impact of local efforts supporting integration with the help of regional coordinators.

Find more about the project at:

Integration SIB project

In the SIB project the performance objectives are specified in great detail, both for the wellbeing set as the target and for the economic benefit. Reaching the objectives is measured on a regular basis and the public sector only pays for the outcome that is the employment of migrants. The project aims to find employment for 2,000–2,500 immigrants within the next three years.

The Integration SIB project boosts the employment of immigrants by bringing together companies and employees and by customising the training of immigrants according to what is needed at workplaces. The Integration SIB model benefits all stakeholders: employers, immigrants, private investors and society.

Integration SIB project aims:

  • To employ 2,500 immigrants within the next three years and help employers get the skilled workforce they need;
  • To help immigrants become part of the Finnish society through education, training and employment;
  • To provide vocationally oriented language and other training to immigrants in support of finding employment;
  • To finance the worked aimed to find employment for immigrants by the Social Impact Bond model, where funds are collected from private and institutional sources.

Find more about the project at:

SIMHE – Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland

SIMHE services (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland) is offered by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for highly educated immigrants to recognise their competences and for guiding them to suitable educational and career paths. SIMHE services are also offered by Karelia UAS, Oulu UAS and University of Helsinki, University of Turku and are supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The project aims to enhance the identification and recognition of prior learning of highly educated immigrants of different statuses and make it easier to direct immigrants to higher education on national and regional levels. The purpose is to ensure that the previous studies and degrees of highly educated immigrants are identified and recognised according to national policies as quickly as possible so that migrants find appropriate education and careers paths.

Find more about services at:

Manifold more

“Manifold more” is a project led by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and partnered by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), which aims to promote diversity in working life and advance career paths of highly educated migrant women. The project developed the model and concrete tools in order to help employers in producing mandatory gender equality plans. Research-based information will be used to challenge stereotypes related to immigrant background women.

The project aims:

  • To create gender-sensitive and diversity promoting human resource practices in expert organisations;
  • To strengthen the expertise and employment of immigrant background women and the diversity understanding in society;
  • To challenge stereotypes associated with immigrant background women through research and expert communications.

Find more about the project at:

Business Ladies

Business Ladies is a project funded by European Social Fund ESF. The project aims to strengthen the business expertise of migrant women entrepreneurs in Lapland region in Finland by empowering and aiding immigrant women who are interested in starting a business.

The project activities will strengthen the business skills of immigrant women through networking and peer support. The objectives are also to provide migrant entrepreneurs with the skills to utilise existing and promote cooperation and networking between migrant entrepreneurs with Finnish native female entrepreneurs.

Find more about the project at:

Getting ready – A higher education preparatory program for immigrants

The universities of applied sciences (UAS) are responsible for organizing training courses for immigrants in higher education. The supply of training courses, application processes, content and scope varied from one UAS to another. There is a need for clarity and definition of common approaches in order to increase the ability of immigrant people to enter higher education and to consider the development needs of Finnish as a Second Language teaching in a higher education community.

The aim of the project is to develop advanced training in higher education through the harmonisation of the training process and principles of training and by preparing national recommendations for preparatory education. In addition, the aim is to create an operational culture which furthers engaging integration in higher education institutions. The project develops both the regional implementation of education and the joint implementation of higher education institutions by using digital methods.

Find more about the project at:


Auroras is a nationwide project and a network that organises working life mentoring in both individual and group settings in Helsinki metropolitan area, Turku and Vaasa. Auroras project is managed by Finnish Federation of Graduate Women (FFGW). The project targets at educated women who have moved to Finland and who are planning to work or otherwise need support in seeking employment opportunities.

The Auroras project supports educated women with immigrant background:

  • to identify their own skills;
  • to network;
  • to learn more about Finnish working life;
  • to improve Finnish language.

Find more about the project at:

About MentoraSTEAM

MentoraSTEAM is a project funded by Erasmus+ Programme, led by Inova Consultancy, in the UK; INCOMA, in Spain; MEET Digital Culture Center, in Italy; and VAMK University of Applied Sciences, in Finland. The project develops the Policy Framework Guide that supports stakeholders to work with and assist migrant women in STEAM; and the Employability Booster Training Programme that helps migrant women in STEAM to plan and recognise the steps necessary to reach their professional goals and to adapt to a new host country.

Research findings and recommendations can be found at:

Website in English:

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