Did you know that the City of Helsinki has established a centralized service to help newcomers to the Helsinki area take their first steps? Launched in 2017, International House Helsinki (IHH) is a joint operation of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa that gathers representatives of several key authorities under one roof.
The immigration service, register office, tax administration, employment services and the state benefit agency Kela are among the many organizations that provide personal consultation services. Experts are on hand to answer a variety of questions on, for example, residence permits, housing, schools and jobs.
“Newcomers to the country shouldn’t have to figure out all the offices they need to visit and hoops they need to jump through on their own. International House Helsinki makes it easy to come to one place and take care of everything. If customers have family members in need of work, they can come along and talk with the appropriate person about starting the job search process,” says Elina Nurmi, IHH’s project manager.
An equally important IHH initiative is a free counselling service for employers interested in recruiting international workers. Nurmi says many Finnish businesses are hesitant to hire workers from abroad because they believe the process will be difficult. IHH provides advice to companies seeking to hire foreigners in and outside the country, proving that the process isn’t a major obstacle to hiring hardworking recruits.
International House Helsinki was designed to be an efficient entry point for new arrivals to the capital city area. The organisations represented at IHH gradually steer customers to use their other service points as they become familiar with how things work in Finland.
IHH currently serves about 9,000 people per month, and several new programmes in the areas of mentoring, spouse outreach and employer-employee matchmaking are in development.
International House Helsinki is open Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm at Lintulahdenkuja 2 in Helsinki’s Sörnäinen district. Contact IHH via tel. +358 (0)9 310 111 11 or email at email@example.com.
Find more information at ihhelsinki.fi
Caption: Knowledgeable service advisors are available at IHH every weekday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Text by Pamela Kaskinen
Photo Susa Junnola