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Justice Minister: Asylum seekers should be working

Minister of Justice and Labour Jari Lindström announced Tuesday that he wants to intensify the integration process of migrants in Finland. He said that asylum seekers should be able to do some sort of work while they wait for decisions on their asylum status.

Jari Lindström
Image: Yle

In order to help refugees and immigrants find and land jobs more quickly, start businesses or begin studies, Lindström said a more intensified process of integration should be implemented.

One example Lindström proposed would be to assess migrants' education levels, work experience and language skills which would then be taken into consideration when determining in which municipality the persons placed.

"In the first stage it is important that municipalities operate as efficiently and effectively as possible," Lindström said on Tuesday. "We need close cooperation with regions, municipalities and employers so that the application process quickens."

Berry picking or snow shoveling

Lindström said that asylum seekers should be able to work while living at reception centres, and suggested examples like seasonal work such as berry picking or snow shovelling.

"Instead of playing football or a game of Kimble, they could do something useful," Lindström said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"The idea is that they do something helpful and that it contributes to society – then they would understand from the very beginning that Finnish society is based on people working and paying taxes."

Lindström's proposed measures are part of an efficiency plan that government approved last month.

"The new methods and coordination must become reality and not remain proposals," Lindström said. "The increased number of asylum seekers will be reflected in integration efforts in the coming months, so there's no time to waste," he said.

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