Turku ecosystem

Counselling and guidance services for international talents have been centralised in Turku and the surrounding region to the International House Turku (IHT) -service concept. 

IHT has two target groups, those thinking of moving to the region and newcomers. It supports the integration of international talents in several key areas of life, including working, studying and living. Work-related help is available, among other things, for job-seeking, working conditions, starting a business, and taxation. 

In terms of studies, information is available on studying Finnish language as well as on education and training leading to a degree at vocational or higher education level. For living, guidance covers such areas as residence permits, housing, family matters, social counselling, and leisure time activities. IHT has two service points through which services are available in more than a dozen languages.  

Another central operator in the ecosystem is Talent (Hub) Turku as part of the Turku Business Region -service concept, which acts as an interface between employers and employees. The hub provides services for employers in improving their recruitment practices and developing an international work community. 

It also helps international talents and local companies to find each other through recruitment campaigns, matchmaking events and online job market services. Moreover, Talent Turku promotes networking of international talents through welcome events for newcomers.  

Higher education institutions have a strong presence in the Turku region through the provision of study programs for international students and supporting their wellbeing by organising accommodation and health care services and opportunities for social interaction. 

The service ecosystem in Turku also involves a number of third sector and private organisations, which advance the integration of international talents by providing, for example, career services (job seeking and networking), language training as well as services for housing, financial management and leisure time. There are also many ethnic associations active in the area.  

The city of Turku has a pivotal role both as a financier and producer of many of the services available for international talents. The city is one of the financiers of IHT and runs the Talent Turku together with Turku Science Park

The city also provides financial support and facilities for local third sector organisations, which offer leisure activities and Finnish language training. In addition, immigrating talents can apply service vouchers from the city for using the services of multilingual private daycare units. 

The city is responsible for many basic services such as rental housing, health care, transportation, social matters, daycare as well as basic education and provides a range of leisure activities such as libraries, museums, theatres, sports facilities and playgrounds. 

Majority of the city’s services are eligible equally to all residents, but some of them are tailored for the language-related needs of the international talents and their families, such as preparatory education for preschool to those whose native language is other than Finnish or Swedish. 

The administration of public immigration services in Turku has been brought together under single entity in the local governance structure during the 2020s. Furthermore, the Multicultural Council provides an immigrant’s perspective to planning, preparation and monitoring of the city services. The council is a formal influence group of the city administration consisting of representatives from foreign language speaking associations. 

The service ecosystem in Turku is embedded in a larger regional and national network of actors and activities. For instance, International House Turku receives financing from a regional ELY Centre and the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Talent Turku is funded by the Ministry of Economy and Employment. 

In addition, IHT and Talent Hub -service concepts have counterparts in a half a dozen of other cities in Finland and they are all part of the national-wide Talent Boost -program initiated by the Finnish government. Moreover, a large share of private and third sector service providers in Turku operate at the national level having their local branches in the city.