Helsinki ecosystem

In recent years, Helsinki’s population growth and vitality have been strongly based on immigration. The diversity of the population and the internationalisation development affect the city’s various industries and services. Equality and inclusion are key challenges, and the city wants to offer jobs to immigrants as well. 

For these reasons, work-based immigration and internationality are carefully considered in all the city’s functions and strategies. 

The immigration unit under the city’s economic department is responsible for the immigration issues and their coordination between the city’s various organisations. Responsibility for immigration has also been shared, for example, with Business Helsinki, which provides business and innovation advice to internationalising companies. 

Helsinki Partners, owned by the city of Helsinki, in turn is responsible for international city marketing and attracting investments and talent to the city. 

An important link between the city and immigrants is International House Helsinki (IHH), which offers a wide range of guidance, counseling, information and expert services for immigrants as well as employers and companies under the same roof. 

IHH’s service package includes, for example, the city’s immigration advice, the Immigration Office, the Digital and Population Office, Kela, the Uusimaa TE Office, the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, the Pension Security Center and the Tax Administration. The service is coordinated by the city of Helsinki, but the cities of Espoo and Vantaa also participate in the service offering. 

IHH offers the main services for immigrants, especially first-stage integration services. In turn, multidisciplinary talent centers (‘osaamiskeskukset’), professional networks and communities (e.g., Maria 01) create networking and participation opportunities for international talents. 

The numerous educational institutions operating in the area are significant actors in the ecosystem. For example, through various research and development projects, they are strongly connected to immigration-themed activities. 

Universities also have their own Talent programs (e.g., University of Helsinki’s UNITalent and Hanken’s International Talent), which have increasing significance in attempts to retain international students in the area after graduation. 

Moreover, the non-governmental organisations and associations also play an important role in the integration of immigrants to Helsinki and elsewhere in the capital region.