An employment experiment involving immigrants conducted by the state and private investors between 2016-2019 shows promising results.
By December 2019, 869 of the 2,211 immigrants who participated in the integration SIB (Social Impact Bond) experiment had been employed. The experiment is estimated to employ approximately 1,000–1,200 people in total.
Most jobs were created in sectors suffering from a labor shortage, such as restaurants, cleaning, transport and storage, but some also in academic fields. The experiment involved combining language and vocational skills training with on-the-job learning and support for employment.
“We are pleased with the results even if we did not reach the target of employing 2,500 immigrants,” says Sonja Hämäläinen, the migration director at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in a statement. “The number of immigrants participating in the experiment was not as large as we initially anticipated due to a large number of young people in the target group. It makes more sense for young people to obtain a qualification in Finland before applying for work. In addition, the target group was expanded to include all immigrants who seek international protection in Finland. The experiment showed that the project was best suited for immigrants who have lived in Finland for several years,” Hämäläinen says.
“The experiment showed that the project was best suited for immigrants who have lived in Finland for several years.”
Investors fund activities
The experiment was financed using an impact investing model and through private investment.
Funds for the activity are collected from investors who also bear the economic risk. The state only pays for the outcome; in this case economic benefit for the public sector. The contract for project management, which involved acquiring funding as well as education and training providers, finding jobs and interviewing the customers referred to the experiment by the TE Office, was awarded on the basis of competitive tendering organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. “We were able to demonstrate that many immigrants will benefit from this new model for rapid employment. With the support provided in the project, immigrants will access employment faster, and a larger number of immigrants will be able to start a career in Finland,” says Samir Omar, the program manager from FIM, which is the organization acting as the project leader.
The impact investing model was first tested in 2016–2019 when the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment conducted an integration SIB experiment to provide employment to immigrants. The purpose of the experiment was to promote faster employment of immigrants. The experiment was conducted in Uusimaa and southwest Finland.
Information on the effectiveness of the experiment will be available three years after the experiment ends. This is when the tax and unemployment benefits data of immigrants who took part in the experiment in 2016–2019 will be compared with those who participated in integration training with an average duration of one year.