Being a refugee, seeking asylum and a municipal place
You can seek asylum in Finland if you have just reason to fear being persecuted in your home country. You can only seek asylum for yourself. You can’t seek it for instance based on your family member’s situation.
Within EU countries (and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) you must seek asylum in the country that you first arrived in. If you have sought asylum or stayed in some other EU country (or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) before you arrived in Finland, your application won’t be processed in Finland. In this case you will be turned back to the country where you were before arriving in Finland.
Processing the asylum application will take several months. Once you have sought asylum you have the right to stay in Finland as long as processing your application takes. Asylum seekers usually live in reception centers. Asylum seekers can also live somewhere other than in a reception center, but then they must pay the living expenses by themselves.
Saarijärvi doesn’t have a reception center. The town of Saarijärvi has, however, committed itself to annually receiving and taking care of the social integration of 25 foreigners in need of international protection who already have a residence permit.
Social integration means that you settle in Finland and acquire knowledge and skills that you will need in Finnish society. You can help this process for instance by learning the language, finding a job or a study place or by getting connections to Finnish society.
Finland has different services that help you with social integration, getting a job and learning the language. These kinds of services are for instance initial assessment, integration plan and integration training. Your family members can also have a right to these services if they move to Finland with you. It’s important that you also actively contribute to your own integration.
You can ask about matters related to social integration, job search and the municipality’s services at the service point in the Saarijärvi town hall. The service point’s address is Sivulantie 11, 43100 Saarijärvi. The service point also includes Local Register Office, TE office, tax office, Kela and police service points, where you can get advice on matters related to these services.
Initial assessment is for evaluating which services will help you to integrate. For instance your education, work experience and language skills will be assessed. Initial assessment is conducted by a TE (employment and economic development) office or a municipality.
You can ask for initial assessment for instance from a TE office or your home municipality’s social welfare office. Immigrant advisors will give you more information about initial assessment and how it’s organized in your home municipality.
If you need support with your integration, an integration plan will be made for you after the initial assessment. An integration plan will be made for you at least if
- you’re an unemployed job seeker
- you get income support/social assistance
- you’re under 18 years old and you don’t have a guardian in Finland.
Your integration plan will have things that will help you to integrate. The plan can include for instance studying Finnish, other studies or an internship. You can make the integration plan together with a workforce advisor at the employment and economic development office aka TE office or with a social worker at the social welfare office.
Integration plan must be made no later than three years from when you get your first residence permit or when your right of residence has been registered. The duration of the integration plan depends on how long you need support with your integration. Integration plan is usually valid for a maximum of three years. In some special cases it can be valid for five years.
Once you have an integration plan made for you, it’s important that you follow it.
TE office or the municipality will refer you to integration training if necessary.
The training includes studying Finnish or Swedish and an introduction to Finnish society, culture and working life. The training may also include other studies or an internship.
TE office, Kela (The Social Insurance Institution) or the municipality will figure out whether you have a right for unemployment benefit or social assistance during your integration plan.
If you have a job, it’s possible that your employer will help you with your integration.
The TE office for the Saarijärvi region is located in Jyväskylä. Dealings with the TE office always happen primarily through the Internet. Their services can be found at http://toimistot.te-palvelut.fi/keski-suomi/asioimeilla.
If you want to call to the office, the numbers are:
0295 025 500 (Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 4.15 p.m.) or 0295 020 713 (Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 4.15 p.m., service is in English).