Published in


Giving immigrant families a role in policy planning

Family ties and work have been the most common reason to move to Finland in recent years. However, family-based immigration is rarely at the centre of public discourse.

At the Ministry of the Interior, we have a project aimed at defining long-term objectives for Finland’s comprehensive migration policy. To accomplish this, we are pursuing active dialogue with different groups and offering them opportunities to participate in the work and influence it. For this project, we wanted to listen to immigrants and their families.

As a designer working for the Ministry of the Interior, one of my main roles is to think of new ways in which we can encourage people to participate in public policy. Normally, our way of reaching out to immigrants and determining their needs and wishes is through constant collaboration with NGOs and other public organisation. This time, we wanted to be in direct contact and amplify their voices through participation in workshops at a public event, organised by a well-known multicultural festival for families.

This is why we arranged two workshops as part of the Kolibri festival. The workshops took place at Vuotalo, Helsinki, and at the Children’s Cultural Center Pessi, Vantaa, on 25–26 September. We asked the festival participants: What are the policies on immigration that Finland needs? We received more than 70 answers that related to integration policies, residence permits and refugee status.

Similarly, according to the Report of the Finnish Government on the need for a reform in integration promotion (2021), families were concerned about the wellbeing and integration of all family members. Work is the key to integration, and various participants wished for more assistance in finding work opportunities for both partners. Some pointed out that the validation of foreign university degrees should be streamlined.

The participants also highlighted the need for more opportunities for people who do not speak Finnish. They requested not only more flexibility in language courses, but also cultural integration courses that would help them to have a better understanding of Finnish idiosyncrasies.

Hello! I am an academic that came to Finland to work as researcher. My partner, also from Mexico, came with me. She used to work as teacher and has a lot of experience. The big problem for us was her intergration to a professional and academic life. Alejandro.
Improve foreigners’ integration. Give more opportunities for finding work.

Additionally, many participants stated the need to speed up the decision-making process related to residence permits or for help to facilitate the process. This is something that we, from the Ministry of the Interior, are working on, on a permanent basis. A couple of participants also suggested taking into consideration the grandparents in family immigration policies.

Ease the byrocracy around immigration.
Agilize the migration processes for the families.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mariana Salgado

Mariana Salgado

Service Design. Ministry of the Interior ( Host in Diseño y diáspora- the podcast on design for social change (